Wednesday, November 7, 2007

a modern take on fruitcake

i came up with this recipe tonight after experimenting with a few others, one traditional and one not at all. the traditional recipe had nasty candied fruit, and another was waaay too soft and light. i think this is a wonderful combination of traditional texture and modern flavor. here, natural dried fruit takes the place of the traditional technicolor candied yuckiness, and i've maintained that wonderful moist denseness that is so familiar. it is spicy, rich, spiked, and most importantly, delicious.

3 cups all purpose flour
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground nutmeg, fresh if possible
scant 1 tbsp allspice
scant 1 tbsp clove
zest of 2 oranges, finely chopped
1/3 cup dried figs, chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/3 cup currants
1/3 cup dried sour cherries, chopped
1/3 cup dried mango, chopped
approx. 2 cup dark rum
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup pecans, chopped

soak chopped fruit in 1 cup rum for at least 24 hours, in an airtight container at room temp

grease and flour two tube pans, and line bottom with parchment cut to fit. preheat oven to 225 degrees farenheit.

cream together butter and sugar until lightened in color and fluffy. add eggs and beat until combined.

in a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves.

beat flour mixture into butter mixture until well combined. stir in fruit (which will have plumped considerably) to equal 4 CUPS, nuts, and orange zest. divide between two pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 1-2 hours. the idea is to bake slow to get rid of some moisture that will be reintroduced in the form of rum during aging.

remove from oven and allow to cool in pan 10 minutes. while cooling, lay out a layer of cheesecloth soaked in rum. flip fruitcakes right side up onto cheesecloth, sprinkle approx. 2 tbsp rum onto surface, and wrap tightly in parchment and sealing in an airtight container. let age for at least 2 months, sprinkling with additional rum every 5 days.

edited to add:
i had enough leftover fruit for two more fruitcakes. i made the happy accident of adding ginger to that batch of batter, and i had run out of orange zest. again, the batter was amazing and i wanted to lick the bowl!

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