Fruitcake Update

Nearly two weeks ago, I announced my plans to embark on a virgin journey into fruitcake territory, a land of dried (and sometimes candied) fruit, booze and a whole lot of waiting.

My guide, LaurelAnn Morley, a chef-restaurateur in Barbados who's made more than her fair share of fruitcakes, recommends that the fruit get a good long soak in an alcohol bath for up to one month before you even consider making the cake batter.

Fruitcake fruit steeping in spirits. (Kim O'Donnel)

Since I now have permission to do a shorter soak, I got my fruit going last weekend and plan to keep it marinating until the first week of November, which translates into two weeks and some change. (Even shorter soaks of a few days are permissible, says Miz LaurelAnn.)

After the first few days, I noticed how quickly the fruit had absorbed the alcohol, resulting in a more of a puddle rather than a proper bath, meaning that the fruit was wet but no longer submerged in liquid. I promptly e-mailed my guru, asking her if it was acceptable to add more alcohol and her reply was:

"Not necessary but the more alcohol the better. After a few days, I process everything in the food processor. Once back in an airtight jar, turn the jar upside down every couple of days."

With this sound advice, I unfastened my glass jar, got a stiff whiff of my stuff and placed it, gradually, into the bowl of my food processor. Pulse, pulse, pulse I went, so as not to pulverize the fruit completely -- LaurelAnn says "you want to bite into a little bitty bit of fruit" -- and in a few minutes, I had something that resembled mincemeat.

As shown in the photo above, the fruit is back in the jar for 10, 12 more days, with an additional inch or so of more booze as a topper.

In the next installment of the fruitcake chronicles, I will take on the cake batter, a process that involves at least three hours of baking time. As I stated earlier, we're in the land of dried fruit, booze and a whole lot of waiting.

'Til next time!

Today is veggie chat today; join me at 1 ET for this month's meat-free edition of What's Cooking.

By Kim ODonnel |  October 25, 2007; 6:58 AM ET Discoveries , Winter Holidays
Previous: I Killed My Pork, Again | Next: Getting Handy With Candy Corn


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Kim--I made fruitcake for my older sister about--ack--15 years ago when she was spending a year studying overseas. She loves the stuff, and I remember poking holes in and soaking the baked cake, wrapped in cheesecloth, with rum for about a month (re-liquoring it up every week or so). My question is: she's now pregnant, so if I don't soak the fruitcake after it bakes, will that much liquor in the fruit bake off?


Posted by: RestonVAMom | October 25, 2007 2:17 PM

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