I plan to make fruitcake for the Holiday season. Can anyone tell me how far ahead should I do this? What is the best way to store fruitcake?
It seems like I remember my mother making fruitcake a long, long time before Christmas, but that my just be poor memory!
I've heard they have to age, too. A month maybe? Depends on the ratio of fruit to cake, the booze, etc.
I LOVE fruitcake. And, I'm unapologetic about it! The darker and fruitier the better. In a school I used to teach in some years ago, four teachers got fruitcakes from students' parents one Christmas. I wound up with all four of them. :bounce: They are much more interesting than Chanukah latkes, IMHO.
There's fruit cake and then there's fruit cake. A good one is food for the gods. I am a fruit cake devotee and like Mezz, unashamedly so.
How long to store it as Mezz also says, depends on the recipe you use. Typically the recipe will tell you how long it can be stored, usually 2 to 6 months in an air tight container. In tha bad old days back home they used to sell cake tins for the purpose.
I too love fruitcake if they are well done. I used mostly dried fruits, lots of spices, not much sugar and lots of rum. I've made the fruitscakesand the meatless mincemeat, ten days or so ago. I keep the fruitcakes well wrapped and inject them with rum once a week.
I'm still working on a fruitcake I made last November. Basically a pound cake with rum-macerated chopped dried fruit (not glacéed), the whole thing soaked with rum and wrapped in cheesecloth (also soaked with rum). I keep it in a Rubbermaid loaf container, right out on the counter. No need to freeze. With all that rum, I'm not sure it even WOULD freeze.
I have found the best way to make fruitcake is to make your cake in August. Yes, I said August. I found this is the best time to make it. Mix up all your ingredients, bake your cake and let it cool. Now, here comes the best part!!! I then throw away the cake and use the bottle of rum, I purchased for making the fruitcake, to make a big batch of Mojitos, Daquaris or Dark & Stormys!!!! Enjoy!!!!
WOW. A thread from '03! Crack me up. It's all good though. To continue the idea ... I started making fruitcakes last weekend. Some will be given away and/or be eaten +/- Thanksgiving. The others, save a few, are for Winter Holiday. The couple left are for New Year's. I don't/can't understand the hatred of fruitcake. A good fruitcake is very enjoyable.
Most people under the age of 50 hate fruitcake--and for good reason. In the last 30 or so years it has gotten downright nasty, particularily the ones in supermarkets.
Basically, there are only two kinds of fruit that can go into a fruitcake: Dried and candied. Dried fruit (raisins, etc) loose about 80% of thier weight in the drying process and as a result are fairly pricey ingredients. Candied fruit, on the other hand looses no weight during the candying process and is fairly cost effective.
But in the "garbage" commercial fruit cake there is no real fruit. Mostly it's candied rutabega-- turnips. Its wonderful stuff, you can dye it any colour you want, and it has no discernable flavour. Not!
The next quality up is candied "peel". This is candied melon peel mostly, and as any lawyer would argue, melons are fruit, turnips aren't. Not much flavour wise going on, but it takes food dyes on nicely though......
The next quality is real candied fruit. The commercial stuff can get quite pricey, but I've had great success candying cherries, lemon peel, orange peel, grapefruit peel, plums, and nectarines myself. It takes about 2 weeks to do this properly, maybe a 2 minute investment each day. But then, if you have an excess of orange or lemon peels, what's the big deal? Even if you paid yourself $15/hr it's still cheaper than buying it, and the flavours are a lot cleaner and a heck-uva lot better than the commercial stuff, and no colours, sodium benzoate or sulphites are added.
I've got a home-style dehydrator. I've dried apples, pears, most stone fruit, and blueberries. Dead simple to do. I'm surrounded by "ethnic" produce stores, and in the summer I'll buy dirt cheap but wholesome fruit like plums, prunes, pears, or cherries and dry it. Stash it away in zip-lock bags and forget about it until fall. Very little effort involved.
To make "My" fruitcake I have a two unorthodox procedures: Massaging fruit, and aging butter.
Firstly I "massage" my dried fruit--raisins, currents, corinthians, dried pears, dried apples, and cherries go into the hobart. Then I add in booze, usually brandy, but also rum, and orange juice. Usually about 1 part liquid to 2 parts fruit. Then I stick in the paddle, and let er' rip on first for about ten minutes until the fruit has sucked up all the liquid. Then I package this into portion sized chunks scaled for one recipie of fruitcake.
We all know fats absorb odours, we know if we store cut onions next to butter or eggs, they will pick up the flavour, and will never let it go. So I throw in a couple of kilos of butter in the hobart, add in my spices, vanilla, and booze. I also substitute some of my butter weight for fruit paste--dried plums or prunes run through the meat grinder. Mix it up, and scale it into weights sized for one recipie of fruitcake. I'll let this ripen for a few days in the fridge, maximum a week.
To make a batch of fruitcake, I take one portion of aged butter, cream it with sugar, add in eggs, beat smooth, add in my diced candied fruit, then flour and baking pwdr. Scale it off into parchment lined loaf pans and bake.
Ready to eat one day after baking. Flavour improves marginally after aging a few weeks.
Sorry, no exact recipie amounts given, but there's enough information there to get the ol' brain ticking, eh?
I don't know ... maybe MY fruitcake recipe is a little Bohemian ... maybe it's not. I use Alton Brown's "Free Range Fruitcake" recipe and jack it up a lot. The only problem is that it's not at all cheap. There's never any leftovers and I've never had any returned.
Our annual batch of Stollen will be made this coming Monday. This will be our batch for the season. It's a ritual to unwrap my Stollen Stick. I've been using this old wooden stick for at least 25 yrs. to make my last fold in the dough. We soak/sugar 3 times wrapping them in cheesecloth before we sugar and cloth them for the last time and they then go into our storeroom. It's a room not used much and is dark and cool. Each time you open the door you salivate. We'll bring them out every couple of weeks and check to see that the sugar is still candied. Then maybe sugar and wrap and back in the storeroom. They go out to our loyal customers each year in a plain brown bag. Only about 60. The word stollen is not anywhere in print in the shop. It's quite a hoot when we have customers pick up their loot each year. Some have their own sign language, some act as if it's a kilo of coke, others buy a bunch of stuff to disguise it in the bottom of their bags. I charge $ 5.95 for a 24 oz. and have never changed the price. The cost of the fruit is more, but it's worth seeing all the old customers. We do lose a few customers during the year and usually someone from the family will come in to ask us if they can get one. Last year one of my older customers almost stroked out when my wife told her a 10" cake was 55.00. It actually took her breath away. Funny thing is, she has more money than one can imagine. Lives over on the left side of town with Ross Perot, Mark Cuban, the Bush's, Hunts, J.Jones etc.