Thursday, December 17, 2009
Nice Christmas Fruitcake
I say 'nice' in the title, as I cannot remember eating a Christmas fruitcake that I really liked when I lived in the UK (and I tried quite a few during my seven years there), but I LOVED this one. I know you're supposed to bake your fruitcake weeks in advance, and let it age and develop in a cool storage before eating it. I baked the one on the photo on Monday, and am dangerously close to having none left by tomorrow evening. That's why bought another several bags of dried fruit today, mixed them with booze. Will be baking another one of this tomorrow, just to make sure I have some to take along to the first of the many Christmas parties this weekend...
The type of dried fruit you use is entirely up to you. I used dried sweetened cherries, seedless raisins, dried apricots and dried pineapple pieces on Monday. At the moment I've got all these plus dried papaya pieces macerating away. As for the booze, anything rum-based will work best, I think. I've used rum-based Blossa glögg, Havana Club rum or even Vana Tallinn rum-based liqueur (those who've been to Estonia know what I'm talking about :)) If you don't like rum, use brandy instead.
English Christmas Fruitcake
Makes one large loaf or two smaller ones
250 g butter, at room temperature
200 g caster sugar (225 ml)
4 large eggs
275 g plain flour (500 ml/2 cups)
2 tsp baking powder
150 ml brandy or rum
600 g of dried fruit of your choice (about 1 litre/4 cups)
Chop the dried fruit into smaller pieces, if necessary, and pour over the brandy or rum. Leave to macerate and soften for at least few hours, preferably overnight.
Cream soft butter and sugar until pale. Whisk in the eggs, one at the time, incorporating each egg before adding the next one.
Mix flour and baking powder, then stir into the egg and butter mixture.
Fold in the dried fruit (plus any booze that's left in the bowl).
Spoon the batter into a buttered large (2-quart) baking tin.
Bake in a preheated 175 C oven for about one hour, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Cool, then wrap into a parchment paper and foil and leave to age for a few weeks (or a day, if you're like me:))