Sunday, November 22, 2015

Recipe for a Rainy Sunday Afternoon: Fruitcake!

My friends who live to the far north are getting some holiday snow.  It looks to be a very rainy day down here in South Florida, the way it was yesterday afternoon when we decided to make fruitcake.

I had bought a variety of dried fruit a few weeks ago when I thought I would make bread for All Saints Day.  I know that dried fruit will keep for a long time, but I also don't have much storage space.

My spouse loves fruitcake, and for years I've wanted to try making one in our kitchen.  In The Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts, I found a recipe that I thought would work.  I wanted a cake that we could eat right away.  I didn't want to keep it in a cask for months while I watered it with brandy.  I don't have that kind of time.

Readers, it was delicious.  I would make it again.  I like to think it's slightly healthier than many desserts, with its fruit and lower fat (only three tablespoons of butter or oil in a dessert!).  And it's fragrant--the house smells like Christmas still.

I mention this recipe here, on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, because I know we may spend part of the coming week with family to entertain, with children who need something to do when they're cooped up in the house, with making the transition from preparing for Thanksgiving to preparing for Christmas.


Italian Fruitcake (which tastes like U.S. fruitcake)

3 C. dried fruit (I used a combination of ginger, mango, cranberries, dates, and pineapple)
3/4 red wine (apple cider for those avoiding alcohol)
3T. butter or olive oil
1/2 C. honey
grated orange or lemon peel would be nice too, but I didn't feel like grating

Combine the above ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 3-4 minutes and then set aside, off the heat.

Preheat oven to 350.  As the oven preheats, toast the nuts (see below) and 2 slices of bread for breadcrumbs.

Combine the following in a big bowl:

1/2 C. almonds, toasted and chopped
1/2 C. walnuts, toasted and chopped
2 C. flour
1 C. toasted bread crumbs
1 C. brown sugar
the recipe calls for 1/2 C. chocolate chips, which I didn't use
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. baking soda (I am just realizing that I used baking powder--it worked fine)
2 eggs

Add the fruit mixture and combine until all of the dry ingredients are moistened.  I had to add a bit of water.

Put the batter into a greased springform pan or a bundt pan.

Bake for 60 to 70 minutes.  Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then remove from bundt pan or release the side of the springform pan.

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