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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fruitcake

Why am I writing about fruitcake in October, you wonder? Because apparently you have to make fruitcake months before you want to eat it so that it ages properly. I realized this last Christmas and was really disappointed that I had missed my chance. So this year I am prepared. And it is October and my house smells like Christmas. Most recipes I found were pretty similar, so I kind of followed a few vaguely with my own riffs. I soaked whatever dried fruits I found around in whatever booze I found around. In this case it was dried cherries, golden raisins, dried cranberries, and a few prunes in a mix of brandy and rum (mostly rum).
I let this sit for a while and watched "Parenthood". Then I preheat the oven to 325 and greased a loaf pan. I mixed together a stick of butter and a fourth cup brown sugar. I beat in an egg.

The recipe I was using only wanted cinnamon, but I really wanted the flavor of Christmas. To me the essence of Christmas is this liquer I tried at Zuni Cafe in San Francisco this summer. So I pretty much combined like cloves, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg (also a dash of ginger).
I stirred together 1/2 cup flour, 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and all of the above seasonings. I alternated mixing into the butter mixture 1/4 cup molasses mixed with two tablespoons milk, and the dry mixture.

Then I stirred in the booze-soaked fruits and some lemon zest.

Then I baked it for 45 minutes, and cooled it for 10. I put a lot more booze on a bartowel.


After it was cooled down, I turned it out of the pan and wrapped it tightly in the cloth. Then I wrapped the whole thing in parchment paper, tied it with kitchen twine and put it in an airtight container. Now I just have to wait 10 weeks and it will be ready! Apparently some fruitcakes are still good after 50 years, better even! What a fascinating food. And what a great gift idea! I may make a million small ones. Fruitcakes for everyone (in 10 weeks)!!

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