Friday, December 9, 2011

Foodie Fridays: Fruitcake

From New Camaldoli Hermitage Bakery & Gift Store

'Tis the season for fruitcake!  December is National Fruitcake Month, and this traditional Christmas confection has been the source of much controversy over the years.  It seems that people either love it or hate it -- there is no middle ground!  Fruitcake is often treated as a joke -- everyone knows the theory that there are only a few fruitcakes actually in existence, and these same cakes keep getting passed around from year to year.

I myself do not like fruitcake, but my mother adored the stuff.  She even resorted to buying the cheap, stale grocery store variety on sale after the holidays to satisfy her craving.  The reason I bothered to learn how to make fruitcakes was to keep my mother from eating these sorry excuses for holiday fare.  Once she tasted the homemade kind, she was hooked, and unfortunately so were my three siblings!  My mother is gone now, but I still bake a fruitcake for each of my siblings every year, because they insist that my version is better than any mail-order product.  I think it must be the Grand Marnier -- even I have to admit that anything can taste good with Grand Marnier liberally poured over the top!

If you have loved ones who insist on eating fruitcake, try this old James Beard recipe.  It is very easy, and you can get away with eating it before the two months of soaking that most recipes require have passed.  And if you don't like fruitcake, you can always use it as a doorstop, or even enter it in the Great Fruitcake Toss!

Fruitcake

1 1/4 C. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
4 oz. candied cherries
4 oz. candied pineapple
1 C. golden raisins
1 C. pecans
1/2 C. butter, softened
1/2 C. sugar
3 eggs
1/2 C. Grand Marnier (or brandy, rum, or liqueur of choice)

Blend together the first 3 ingredients.  Stir in the next 4 ingredients.  Cream butter and sugar.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Combine with the flour mixture.  Pour into a greased loaf pan lined with waxed paper.  Bake at 300 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool completely.  Soak with Grand Marnier.  Wrap in foil, then in a plastic bag, and let sit in a cool, dark place for several weeks before serving.
     

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