Friday, December 08, 2006

Mom's Fruit Cake

No, I didn't say mom IS a fruit cake! For the most part, I don't like fruit cake. There's just something wrong about eating the peel of the fruit to me (you know, candied orange peel and all that).

This fruit cake, however is full of wonderful stuff. Its really easy to make (once you get through papering the pans). In fact, the only down side to it is the cost of the ingredients. But just once in your life you should taste really good fruit cake, and this is it!

Note: Read through the entire recipe before beginning. This works best if the ingredients have be allowed to stand at room temperature for an hour before you start.

Added note:  this recipe makes a lot of fruit cake --- one large loaf and 5 small ones --- the adjustments to make half a recipe are included below in red

1 1/2 (3/4) pounds pitted dates
1 (1/2) pound candied pineapple
1 (1/2) pound whole candied cherries (some for garnish)
2 (1)cups sifted flour
2 (1) tsp baking powder
1/2 (1/4) tsp salt
4 (2) eggs (1 (1/2) cup egg substitute)
1 (1/2) cup sugar
2 (1) pounds pecan halves (some for garnish)
white corn syrup

Use two 9 inch by 5 inch by 3 inch loaf pans OR two 9 inch spring form pans OR one of each size OR four small loaf pans.

Grease pans well with butter or shortening, line bottoms and sides with brown paper (or parchment paper) cut to fit, then grease the paper.

Set oven to 275 degrees

Cut the dates and pineapple into coarse pieces.

In a large bowl (I use a BIG stainless steel one), mix dates, pineapple and cherries (reserve a few cherries for garnish).

Sift salt, baking powder and flour together. Sift flour mixture onto fruit mixture.

Using your hands, mix flour mixture into fruit to coat each piece of fruit with the flour.

Beat eggs until frothy. Gradually beat in the sugar until well mixed.

Add eggs to fruit mixture, mix well with large spoon (I use a wood one).

Add nuts (reserve a few for garnish) and mix until nuts are evenly distributed and coated with batter.

Pack mixture into pans, press it down firmly to make sure there are no empty spaces.

Decorate the tops with cherries and pecan halves.

Bake: loaf pan for 1 1/2 hours, springform for 1 1/4 hours, little loaves for 1 hour. Tops of cakes, where batter is visible should look dry but not be brown. If you aren't sure its done, give it a little more time, a little over baking will not hurt.

Remove from oven and let cool on rake for about 5 minutes. Turn out of pans and remove the paper.

Turn loaves right side up and brush with corn syrup to glaze. Cool completely.

To store, wrap loosely in foil and store airtight in a cool place. Stored this way, the cakes will last several weeks. If well wrapped and frozen they will keep indefinitely.

Have fun! Remember, fruit cake is a Christmas tradition, but you won't want to throw this one.

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