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Old 03-26-2014, 03:53 PM   #1
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What makes a "good" fruitcake?

I'm American and my husband is Australian.

My husband loves fruitcake. I loathe it and find it somewhat incomprehensible.

However, he is incapable of finding a commercial version of a fruitcake that he likes. I tried asking my Mother-in-Law for her recipe, but she's refused to share it. All I know is she soaked it in some sort of alcohol for about a month, and she bought assorted small jars of candied fruit peel. And she called it "Christmas pud". Oh, and I learned my husband doesn't like ginger, so the fruitcake probably shouldn't have ginger in it.

I'm at my wit's end...because...I know nothing about fruitcakes and so I have no context for what's "good" or "bad" in them.

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Old 03-26-2014, 04:04 PM   #2
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I have a recipe that I made eons ago. It was pretty good. Needs to 'age' after making so be prepared. Might take me awhile to find it!

On the other hand you could just order some on line and have it shipped in .
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Old 03-26-2014, 04:07 PM   #3
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Also meant to mention that there are really two types. One is a dark cake, the other a lighter cake.

I never liked the dark one when I was younger, to strong, bitter or whatever. But did like the white cake style, more like a pound cake.

Truth to tell I don't remember which my recipe is. Looking it up now...
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Old 03-26-2014, 04:12 PM   #4
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We have had discussions in the past regarding fruit cakes. I will assume you mean the kind of fruit cake you eat and not people who are fruit cakes.

I am sure some of our members have posted their recipes for fruit cake. It seems the discussion comes up every holiday. Search through the cake recipes and you will find one I am sure.

And welcome to DC. If you have a question, you can count on several folks having an answer for you. We secretly think of ourselves as "know it alls" when it comes to cooking. Although none of us will admit it.

I think it is reprehensible that your MIL will not share her recipe with you. How else does she expect family recipes to be passed down through the generations. I am only too happy to share any recipe I may have with anyone that wants it. I consider it a compliment when someone asks for it.

Good luck in your quest. And stick around. We like having new members.
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Old 03-26-2014, 04:15 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Eachna View Post
...And she called it "Christmas pud". Oh, and I learned my husband doesn't like ginger, so the fruitcake probably shouldn't have ginger in it.
What your mother-in-law refers to is a traditional English (and possibly Australian, I guess) Christmas dessert.

Traditional Christmas Pudding - English - Recipes - from Delia Online

Typically this is served after the big Christmas meal, and is often brought into the room set ablaze.
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Old 03-26-2014, 04:25 PM   #6
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Thank you Addie and Steve. I found my recipe but was flabbergasted at the list of ingredients. It is daunting to think of typing this out (and I'm a typist!)

Eachna, if someone has already posted one you'd probably be best to check them out first. It is possible that it is more of a Christmas Pudding, soaked in rum (or something) and steamed and served with a Hard Sauce.

Let us know what you decide to do!
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Old 03-26-2014, 04:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eachna View Post
I'm American and my husband is Australian.

My husband loves fruitcake. I loathe it and find it somewhat incomprehensible.

However, he is incapable of finding a commercial version of a fruitcake that he likes. I tried asking my Mother-in-Law for her recipe, but she's refused to share it. All I know is she soaked it in some sort of alcohol for about a month, and she bought assorted small jars of candied fruit peel. And she called it "Christmas pud". Oh, and I learned my husband doesn't like ginger, so the fruitcake probably shouldn't have ginger in it.

I'm at my wit's end...because...I know nothing about fruitcakes and so I have no context for what's "good" or "bad" in them.
Allow me to offer the recipe I use (which I developed from a really boring dry fruit cake) is as follows.

Put 1lb mixed dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, currants and chopped mixed candied citrus peel - available ready mixed in packets here in the UK - worth having a look in the States but easily mixed at home.) and about 4 ounces other glace fruits (cherries, mango, papaya, pineapple or what you will) in a saucepan with 4 oz butter (1 stick?) 4 oz brown sugar and 1/4 (UK) pint liquid (5 fluid ounces - I use half and half whisky , brandy or rum and water for every day but less water and more "hooch" for special occasions. If you don't "do" alcohol you could use orange juice or water or tea.)

Bring this to a simmer stirring to dissolve the sugar and melt the butter. Simmer for 20 minutes stirring from time to time (don't go away and leave it or it might turn to toffee!) then remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 1/2 and hour.

Then add 2 beaten eggs and 8 oz self raising flour sifted with 1/2 a teaspoon mixed spice (optional), stir well and put into a deep 7" diameter cake pan which has been lined with baking parchment (I don't grease it but you can if you'd rather).

Bake in a pre-heated oven 325 degrees F/170 degrees C/gas mark 3 for 1/2 and hour. Then reduce the temperature to 300F/150C/gas mark 2 for a further 1 and 1/2 hours. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning it our to cool on a wire cooling rack.

Store it in a tin or similar for a few days to eat it at it's best. It keeps for a couple of weeks or more if you can keep it away from the fruit cake lovers for that long.

This is absolutely fool-proof, doesn't need a food mixer and is moist and fruity. I make them by the dozen for bake sales and they are always scooped up by those who are in the know - one lady has been known to buy 6 at a time! People often say they don't like fruit cake but they like this!

You can play about with the fruit content adding more or a different mixture of fruits. I often make it as a Christmas cake, prodding it with a knitting needle kept for the purpose and pouring spoonsful of the same alcohol as I put in the mixture, over it a few days before covering with marzipan and royal icing and decorating it suitably.

No copyright on this (except mine and I give you all permission to make it and give away the recipe) Hope husband enjoys it.
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Old 03-26-2014, 04:38 PM   #8
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The list of ingredients is daunting. With prices rising at a rate that boggles the mind, it is a pricey dish to make. But it is mostly all the dried fruit that is put into the piece. Eachna can leave out the ginger in any recipe she ends up choosing. It won't affect the end result at all.

The hardest part of making this dish, whether it be the pudding or cake, is the mixing. You have to stir it by hand in order to get all that dried fruit mixed evenly. Using the mixer just makes the gluten develop even more and you end up with a tough cake.

Perhaps if Eachna would ask her husband to ask his mother for the recipe, she just may find her more receptive to the idea of sharing.
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Old 03-26-2014, 04:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Kroll View Post
What your mother-in-law refers to is a traditional English (and possibly Australian, I guess) Christmas dessert.

Traditional Christmas Pudding - English - Recipes - from Delia Online

Typically this is served after the big Christmas meal, and is often brought into the room set ablaze.
Christmas pudding is boiled not baked, it isn't a cake and is eaten hot with custard or rum or brandy sauce. It sounds as there may be a bit of confusion here (knowing mothers-in-law this may or may not be intentional).

I get very annoyed with the "my recipe is secret" attitude.
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Old 03-26-2014, 04:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Cook View Post
Christmas pudding is boiled not baked, it isn't a cake and is eaten hot with custard or rum or brandy sauce. It sounds as there may be a bit of confusion here (knowing mothers-in-law this may or may not be intentional).

I get very annoyed with the "my recipe is secret" attitude.
MC, I'm confused as to why you chose to quote my post. In the recipe link I posted the pudding is actually steamed, and was recommended to me by a good friend in West Yorkshire who tells me it's authentic. From what I understand it's also traditional to put it in a cupboard to age for several weeks.
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