While lying in bed, during one of those many sleepless nights, I allowed my thoughts to roam where they would. This Christmas Eve morning they meandered to Holidays past. Not to the people I spent them with, nor to the homes that hosted these many events, but rather to fruitcake. This is not to be confused with some of the company at these celebrations, often dubbed as fruitcakes, a commentary on their state of mind, rather the thoughts ran to the traditional, much maligned cake.
Remember those fruitcakes you purchased at the drugstore, prettily encased in a Currier and Ives tin. That weighty cake would last until the next ice age. Sometimes you would store it on top of the refrigerator and re-gift it the following holiday season. This was acceptable and became part of the family Christmas joke.
I have a confession to make —— sometimes I actually sliced and ate those fruitcakes. They weren’t half bad.
I don’t know whether it is a viral case of nostalgia, or a slipping of the senses, but I miss fruitcake. Perhaps you do too? Following is a recipe I copied from a holiday delights site. I haven’t tried it yet, but how bad can it be? Can anything be really terrible with this much rum? Worse comes to worse you can always gift it. Enjoy.
1/8 cup chopped dried cherries
1/8 cup chopped dried mango
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried currants
2 tablespoons chopped candied citron
1/4 cup dark rum
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup dark rum, divided
- Soak cherries, mango, cranberries, currants, and citron in 1/4 cup rum for at least 24 hours. Cover tightly, and store at room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Butter a 6×3-inch round pan or loaf pan and line it with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; mix into butter and sugar in three batches, alternating with molasses and milk. Stir in soaked fruit and chopped nuts. Scrape batter into prepared pan.
- Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons rum.
- Cut out one piece parchment paper and one piece cheesecloth, each large enough to wrap around the cake. Moisten cheesecloth with 1 tablespoon rum. Arrange cheesecloth on top of parchment paper, and unmold cake onto it. Sprinkle top and sides of cake with remaining rum. Wrap the cheesecloth closely to the surface of the cake, then wrap with paper. Place in an airtight tin, and age for at least 10 weeks. If storing longer, douse with additional rum for every 10 weeks of storage.