03 December 2009

Favorite Fruitcakes

One of the best fruitcake books out there is Moira Hodgson’s Favorite Fruitcakes. Hodgson is a Brit and they have a much greater appreciation of fruitcakes. Favorite Fruitcakes collects a variety of “famous” fruitcake recipes or perhaps they are just “famous” cooks. Anyway, this is great compendium of fruitcake facts and zippy recipes.

This recipe is from Craig Claiborne. It was his mother’s favorite recipe. Claiborne took her mixed fruit and nuts and weighed them out replacing the candied fruit with candied ginger and the mixed nuts with black walnuts.

Craig Caliborne’s Walnut and Ginger Fruitcake.

½ pound candied ginger in 1/4" cubes (about 1 cup)
1 ½ cups golden raisins
3 ¾ cups walnuts, preferably black walnuts, broken in pieces
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Salt to taste
1 pound (4 sticks) butter, cut in 1-inch cubes
2 cups sugar
6 eggs, separated
1/3 cup Madeira or sweet sherry

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Lightly butter a 10-inch, 12-cup Bundt pan. Sprinkle with flour; shake pan to coat inside. Shake out excess.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine ginger, raisins and walnuts.
3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Sift this mixture over ginger and nut mixture.
4. Put the butter in the bowl of an electric mixture. Start beating while gradually adding the sugar. Cream the mixture well and gradually beat in egg yolks. Beat in Madeira.
5. Pour and scrape this mixture over nuts and blend the ingredients thoroughly. This is best done by hand.
6. Beat the egg whites until stiff and thoroughly fold in, until they do not show.
7. Pour batter into the prepared pan, and smooth over the top with a spatula. Set pan on a baking sheet and place in oven. Bake about 2 1/4 hours, or until cake is puffed above pan and nicely browned on top or until internal temperature is 200 degrees on a thermometer.
8. Remove cake from pan shortly after baking. Tapping the bottom of the pan with a heavy knife will help. Store cake for at least 10 days. If desired, add occasional touch more of Madeira or sherry (or Cognac or rum, if desired). Keep closely covered, wrapped in cheesecloth or foil, and refrigerated until ready to use.

Check out Lucindaville’s Fruitcake post for sources for great fruit and nuts.

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