Monday, September 18, 2006
Christmas is less than a hundred days away and today is the best time to learn how to do fruitcakes! Below are two ways to make Christmas Fruitcakes.
1. Heat oven to 300 degrees F.
2. Line three 8-by-4-by-2-inch loaf pans with buttered parchment paper.
3. Place the candied fruit, candied citrus peel, fresh citrus peel and raisins in a bowl.
4. Pour in 1/2 c. of the rum and set aside, stirring occasionally. The rum will soon be completely absorbed.
5. Sift together the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking powder, and reserve.
6. Place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until very fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the light brown sugar and beat another 2 minutes.
7. Add the eggs one at a time, then add the flour, and mix only until incorporated.
8. Fold in the fruit and walnuts by hand and divide the batter between the pans.
9. Bake for 1 hour, then top each cake with aluminum foil to prevent overbrowning.
10. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes more. See tips for doneness tests.
11. Cool completely.
12. While cakes cool, cut cheesecloth into three 2-foot lengths and soak in remaining rum.
13. Wrap each cake in one section of the cheesecloth, then wrap in plastic wrap.
14. Refrigerate at least one week, but preferably three.
There are two ways to test for doneness: Insert a toothpick into the center of a cake; if it comes out clean, it's done. Or, press the top of the cake with your fingers; if it feels firm and spongy and springs back when pressed, it's done.
Either rum or brandy can be used as the alcohol in this recipe, depending on your personal preference.
You can also use regular dried fruit (dates, apricots, peaches, pears, cranberries and so on) instead of the candied fruit, if you prefer.
Cake flour produces a more tender crumb than all-purpose flour. It can be found in the baking section of your supermarket.
6 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
3 tablespoons whipping cream
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons orange liqueur
1 cup fruitcake crumbs
1/2 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
1. Chop chocolate into small pieces. In saucepan over very low heat, melt chocolate, cream, and butter until blended and smooth.
2. Stir in liqueur and fruitcake crumbs; chill for 2 hours or until firm.
3. Shape into 1 inch balls and chill at least 20 minutes. Before serving, roll in icing sugar or coca powder and chill for 20 minutes.
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