Friday, November 27, 2009

Fruitcake with Coffee in a Sacred Mug

People who dislike fruitcake just never had a Golden Fruitcake, which has neither candied fruit peel nor candied citron. Citron is a nuisance melon that grows wild here.

One ingredient in Proper Fruitcake does grow in my garden: Pecans.



"As Christmas time approached, Sook made elaborate fruitcakes, dark and blond, to be given away to important people, and some not so important. This undertaking required much work and thought." -- Truman Capote, A Christmas Memory

My proper fruitcake has tasty fruits like glacee cherries and pineapple, golden raisins, a quart of pecans and/or walnuts, some coconut, perhaps a few dates, all held together with a minimum of rich cake batter. The exact proportions of the various ingredients varies by the cook. I have tatterred handwritten copies of various recipes of cooks who have gone on, including Mrs. Jimmy Hatcher's White Fruitcake. 

Another, called Golden Old Fashioned Fruitcake I laboriously copied from Mr. Darcy Nicholson's own index cards shortly before he died. He insisted that I sit there and write down every word. Mr. Nicholson was a retired wholesale grocer, a Daylily fancier and a noted cook.  Mr. Nicholson also grew the tallest castor bean plants I ever saw, at least 20 feet tall, treelike, in the center of the loop  of his driveway.

His recipe includes 3 Tablespoons of rum or brandy flavoring. His Optional instructions are thus: Remove from oven 20 minutes before baking time is completed: brush top with syrup. Decorate with nut halves and candied fruit strips, pressing gently to make them stick. Return to oven for 20 minutes. Cool overnight in pan. Cake is better if baked 3 weeks ahead of time.

My MIL always put her cloth-wrapped fruitcakes in a clean lard can (a popcorn tin makes a good modern substitute) with apples. The cakes mellow and take up the fruity taste of apple. Delicious.

Once aged, fruitcake can be sliced very thin and if the cherries were left whole, gives a look of stained glass windows to the slices. A slice of Golden Fruitcake served with coffee or hot tea in a Sacred China Christmas Mug on a cool December afternoon is just delicious.

I skip through all that beating of batter and dredging of fruits and nuts in flour. Now I just add the fruits and nuts to flour that is going into oatmeal cookies and make Fruit and Nut Oatmeal Cookies, using half the sugar we used to add. If I want to really feel smug, I substitute canola oil for the butter. I could still make a real fruitcake, there's time.


11 comments:

  1. Hi Nell~~ I've always suspected that the fruitcake I've labored to enjoy was not the real deal. Anything with pecans has got to be a delicacy. These trees are just amazing!

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  2. Wow, that sounds gorgeous, very much the opposite to fruitcake we have here around christmas. Goodness I hate candied peel! But yours sounds heavenly and with pecans in it too - yummy!

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  3. Hi Nell - fruitcake as cookies - that is brillant! Gloria

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  4. Hi Nell, You can tell I do not get around much because I did not know Pecan trees got so huge. I guess I just thought they were like apple trees.
    Your fruit cakes sound yummy with the apple trick.
    Have a wonderful weekend!

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  5. Neil Jean,
    I love fruit cake and this is making my mouth water! I might try making it one day. Now I do make some mean biscotti

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  6. A great post, gorgeous recipes and gorgeous trees, so elegant. Seems very exotic to me to have pecans growing in your garden. Yan

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  7. Hi Nell,
    Don't know about the fruitcake but it looks like you have the fixins for some serious Georgia Pecan Pie. What times dinner again?

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  8. My Aunt Ozelle made the best fruitcakes on the planet, and your recipe sounds similar to hers. She always added extra pecans. My mom's family was from south Alabama, not so far from you. I love your pecan trees! I spent many hours as a child shelling pecans. I confess now I buy them pre-shelled, but Christmas is just not complete without pecans in cakes, breads, and cookies.

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  9. Well, the way you describe it, I'd really WANT to like it - but it's always just that dense horrible store bought thing when I come across it!

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  10. Nell, you make that fruitcake sound almost tasty! I have never been a fan, but maybe I just never tasted a good one.

    Lucky you with those trees...pecan prices are very high this year.

    I think you should do a cooking segment and share the oatmeal cookie recipe with us.

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  11. I am glad I am one of the few people in my various circles that likes fruitcake. I just leaves more for me. My grandmother never drank alcohol, but would visit the ABC store once a year to get rum for her fruitcakes.

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I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.



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