Sunday, December 21, 2008

This is not your grandmother's fake fruit fruitcake.

This is not your grandmother's fruitcake that was dry and filled with all sorts of chemical tasting fake fruit in neon colors. Instead this is a moist cake filled with sun dried fruit that even people who hate fruitcake will love.

* 1 cup sun dried tart cherries
* 3/4 cup sun dried cranberries
* 3/4 cup golden raisins
* 1/2 cup dried diced pineapple
* 1/2 cup currants
* 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
* Zest of one lemon, chopped coarsely
* Zest of one orange, chopped coarsely
* 1/4 cup candied ginger, chopped
* 1 cup spiced rum or apple juice
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 1/4 sticks of unsalted butter
* 1 cup apple juice or apple cider
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1/2 tsp of ground all spice
* 1/4 tsp ground cloves
* 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 2 eggs beaten well
* 1 cup toasted pecan or walnuts or combination of the two broken or chopped very slightly
* Brandy for basting and/or spritzing (optional)


Combine all of the dried fruits, candied ginger and both zests. Add rum or apple juice and let sit on the counter covered overnight. This is called macerating.

If you are in a hurry, microwave for 5 minutes to re-hydrate fruit.

Place fruit and liquid in a non-reactive pot with the sugar, butter, apple juice and spices. Heat over medium heat until it comes to a boil. You need to stir it often so that it does not scorch. Once it comes to a full boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 10

minutes. Remove from heat and cool for at least 15 minutes. You can make it to this point and then store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before completing the recipe. If you refrigerate it then please bring to room temperature before mixing dry ingredients into it.

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Once the fruit has reached room temperature, add the 2 well beaten eggs and stir until the eggs are mixed into the fruit. In a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients with a spoon or sift to combine.
Pour the dry ingredients over the fruit mixture and stir just until the flour is mixed in. Fold in the toasted nuts.
Immediately put the batter into a 10-inch non-stick loaf pan that has been greased or lined with parchment and bake for 1 hour. Check for doneness by inserting toothpick into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, it's done. If not, bake another 10 minutes, and check again.

Remove cake from oven and place on cooling rack or trivet. If you would like, baste or spritz top with brandy and allow to cool completely before turning out from pan. I use a clean spray bottle to spritz the cakes with.

When cake is completely cooled, seal in a tight sealing container or a zip lock bag. Every 2 to 3 days, feel the cake and if dry, spritz with brandy or a bit of apple juice. The cake's flavor will enhance considerably over the next one to two weeks but you can eat it hot out of the oven if you wish.

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