Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Make Your Own Fruitcake!

Yesterday we stopped by the grocery store as we ran our errands.  I picked up a package of mint chocolate chips because they reminded me of my grandmother who loved them so much and a package of Andes peppermint chips.

Back at the house, as my sister-in-law, her grown daughter, and my spouse looked at family pictures and documents, I made cookies.  It felt very cozy.

I gave some of them to a friend who said that the cookies are so delicious that I should write about food.  But I simply followed the recipe on the back of the package.  Because I'm lazy, I made bar cookies instead of the round kind.

I wonder how often our cooking/baking experiences is a matter of simply following the recipe.  I thought about my experience of making fruitcake before Christmas. 

I had bought a variety of dried fruit 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 the next morning.  And it stayed good for the following week when we kept the slices in a zip-lock bag.


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.

1 comment:

Stacy said...

Can't wait to see what you create for Friday!!!