It's that season again, and I offer a family recipe that will fix you up for the next five or six years, plus a source for the best fruits/nuts available in North America.
Here we go...
GLACEED CANDIED FRUITS
CHERRIES - 1/2 red, 1/2 green 2.25 lb keep a couple dozen whole for decoration, rest cut in half
PINEAPPLE 1.50 lb
LEMON PEEL .50 lb
ORANGE PEEL 1.00 lb
CITRON 1.00 lb
total candied fruits 6.25 lb
APRICOTS (California, please) 1.00 lb keep a few whole for decoration,, rest cut in half
PEACHES .50 lb
RAISINS 1.00 lb
CURRANTS .75 lb
FIGS 1.00 lb Keep a few whole; cut rest in 1/2" cubes
DATES 1.00 lb decorations whole; rest in thirds
total dried fruits 4.75 lb
TOTAL FRUITS 11.00 POUNDS
To save all the cutting. you can pulse everything (not the decorations) briefly in a food processor.
Stir all the fruits and nuts into the rum, cover, let stand overnight.
BATTER this is a very dark, minimal batter- just enough to hold the fruit together
FLOUR 6.0 cup
BUTTER 1.5 cup
SUGAR- DARK BROWN 1.5 cup
HONEY .5 cup
MOLASSES - BLACKSTRAP 1.0 cup
SALT 3 tsp
BAKING POWDER 3 tsp
ALLSPICE 3 tsp
NUTMEG 1 tsp
CLOVES ground 1.5 tsp
CINNAMON ground 1.0 TBS
MACE 0.2 tsp
CARDAMOM 0.25 tsp
FRUIT JUICE fresh-squeezed orange 18 TBS
RUM yesssss 2.25 cups
liquids total 3.33 cups
Dredge the fruit (not the decorations ones) with 3/4 cup of the flour. Cream shortening with sugar, add honey and molasses. Stir in beaten eggs, beat until smooth.
Stir remaining flour with the other dry ingredients (pulse 3-5 times in food processor.) Add this and fruit juice and mix thoroughly.
Pour batter over floured fruit and mix thoroughly until all fruit in covered with batter.
For a big cake, line baking pan with THREE layers of wax paper, extending 1/2" above top of pan. Pour batter into pan - do NOT flatten it. Decorate top of cake with reserved fruits and nuts. (This is not, actually, a California recipe.)
Bake for four hours in a 250 oven with a pan of water- the water gives a high gloss and nice texture to the cake.
The Collin Street Bakery (America's preeminent maker of fruitcakes) gives the cake a brushing of apricot glaze. Add water to the jam to give a brushing consistency. Actually, I dilute with Vermouth or brandy, but that's just me.
For smaller cakes, spray aluminium-foil "Baby Loaf Pans" well with non-stick spray, fill with batter - don't flatten the batter. This cake does not rise, so pans can be filled almost to the top. Baking time will be less than for a bigger cake- use the clean-toothpick test.
This recipe makes 16 to 18 such smaller cakes. Do not leave them in the tins- they will deteriorate over time; remove from the cake pans, pour a good splash of your alcoholic beverage of choice, wrap tightly in multi layers of plastic wrap and they will keep very well for - from personal experience - at least up to five years, They need to be re-moistened every six months or so, and just leave them in a closet until the fruitcake bug bites!
If you like candied fruit in a minimal, dark batter, this is the recipe for you!
For the best candied fruits and fabulous nuts, consult the website of HOUSTON PECAN COMPANY. All their stuff is just wonderful. We've used their stuff for years.
As somebody says.... Hoppy Cookeeng!!
Edited by MikeLM - 11/15/15 at 3:04pm