Saturday, September 27, 2008

fruitcake 2008

this year's fruitcake is in the oven as i'm typing it.  i've made a few changes from last year's recipe, so here is the new one.  

2 cups packed dark brown sugar
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour (i used organic, unbleached)
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg, fresh if possible
scant 1 tablespoon allspice
scant 1 tablespoon ground cloves
1/2 tablespoon ground ginger
zest of 2 oranges*, finely chopped
1/2 cup calmyrna figs, chopped
1/2 cup mission figs, chopped
1/2-1 cup dried cranberries, chopped if necessary
1/2-1 cup dried blueberries
1/2-1 cup dried sour cherries, chopped
1/2-1 cup dried strawberries, chopped
1/2-1 cup prunes, chopped
1/2-1 cup dried pears, chopped
1/2-1 cup dried apricots, chopped
3 cups dark rum
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup pecans, chopped

soak chopped fruit in rum for at least 24 hours, in an airtight container at room temperature.  

grease and flour two tube pans, and line bottoms 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, cloves, and ginger.  

beat flour mixture into butter mixture until well-combined.  stir in fruit (which will have plumped considerably), nuts, and orange zest.  divide between two pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, one to two 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 for ten minutes.  while cooling, lay out a layer of cheesecloth that has been soaked in rum.  flip fruitcake right side up onto cheesecloth.  sprinkle approximately two tablespoons of rum onto surface and wrap tightly in parchment.  seal in an airtight container.  let age for at least two months, sprinkling with rum every five days.  

*i tried using a spice grater rather than a zester, to see if it would grate so fine that i wouldn't have to chop the zest.  it worked great and produced so much juicy zest that i only used one orange.  but, if using a zester, the resulting zest will be bigger and drier, so use two oranges.  

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