Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fruitcake 2011

Fruitcake is something I've been making for years. I grew up hating the stuff, but since making my own, have grown to love it. I use a poundcake base, based loosely on James Beard's recipe in the American Cooking book. Very loosely based.
Here's what I did:
3 sticks butter, softened (yes, I used salted, it's what I had)
almost 2 cups sugar (part white, mostly brown, it's all I had)
Cream together, add 10 egg yolks. The package said "large," but they looked puny. Should mix together like a whipped cream. Add vanilla (I used the rest of what I had, maybe 1 tsp), and some almond extract (used a healthy dose of that).

In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until soft peaks. Set aside until ready for them.

Add 3 1/2 cups sifted flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, and seasonings to the yolk/butter/sugar mixture.
Seasonings: 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. cardamom, 1/2 tsp. allspice

Then, without fear, fold in the beaten egg whites.
I stirred some of the egg whites into the batter to lightened it, then dumped in the rest, and using a big spoon, a really big serving style spoon, I just stirred/folded in the whites until it just had a few streaks of white in it.
In the meantime, a really big bowl of fruit has been diced (actually, processed in the machine) has been soaking in brandy. about 8 cups of it.
Add about 3 cups of chopped nuts, I used a bag of chopped walnuts, and some leftover hazelnuts.

oh yeah, the fruit.
Here's what I used this year. Yes, it varies from year to year.
All measurements are loosely packed, but after processing into a small/fine dice.
3 cups dried apricots
2 1/2 cups mixture of dried cranberries and cherries
2 cups diced dates
1/2 cup dried blueberries (had a package opened in the fridge and thought I'd toss it in, too)
I made 48 mini-cakes in mini-muffin tins, no papers (they came out great)
8 mini-loaves
a bit bigger loaf
and some in a small (2 egg) cast iron frying pan.
Bake at a low-ish temp 325F until done.

Next, the syrup:
I used what was left in the fridge, an apple jelly with vanilla (leftover from the Mozart cakes), seedless strawberry jam, and seedless raspberry jam (leftover rom M. cakes, with some corn syrup melted into it). I added a bit of water, and simmered it together. As it cools, add brandy.
Each cake will be drenched with it, dunked. Then will go into plastic storage bags in the back of the fridge. They will undergo more dunks throughout the season.
After several weeks, the cake is soaked through, should hold together, and slice nicely.

I'll keep you posted.

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