Friday, December 25, 2009

I Can't Believe It's Fruitcake

The 7-day recipe countdown to the new year has kicked off with a sugar rush, with fruitcakes leading the way. We have an eggless christmas cake, fruit 'n nut cake, Christmas rich fruit and nut cake and a winter-ready snowy white coconut cake. If you like your sweets in controlled portions, try these sugar cookies (some in a cute bouquet), ginger cookies, vanilla and chocolate muffins, squares of badam cake or pori urundai, sweetened puffed rice. For a warm dessert, try some apple crumble and for a cool treat, this gulkand malai kulfi.

For festive beverages, you can't beat frothy eggnog or fresh ginger ale (with a platter of crisp pakodas on the side).

If you are ready for something savory, there's a piping hot bowl of sunny bell pepper soup, cheesy brown rice cakes and some golden moong dal chillas. For the entrees, you get to choose from savory bread pudding and pasta with roasted vegetables and feta.

Next, we have some dishes that feature Indian regional cuisine: snow white ghaavne from the Konkan coast, egg masala dosa from Kanyakumari and a complete traditional Andhra meal. Finally, there are the comforting home-style dishes, including our daily bread, chapatis, Mummy's rajma and dal fry.

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Sometime in the first week of December, I decided that I wanted to make fruitcake this year. This was a little late in the day since many recipes want you to soak the fruit in booze for weeks, and then soak the cake in booze for several more weeks and so on. I asked for fruitcake recipe recommendations on this post and so many helpful people gave me great suggestions. I ended up going with Manisha's pick, Alton Brown's recipe for fruitcake; a couple of other people also recommended the same recipe.

I liked Alton Brown's recipe because it seemed really easy to put together. It all started on Dec 12th with a shopping spree to get the long long list of ingredients. The reason fruitcake is so maligned is often because of the horrid candied fruit in lurid colors, and this recipe instead calls for lots of "real" dried fruit. I love the selection of dried fruit in Trader Joe's and got everything I needed, except that I used dried plums (OK, prunes) instead of currants. Then I went across to Target and came out carrying copious bottles of brandy and rum (got to love a store where the hard liquor and dish detergent are in adjacent aisles). The other ingredients in the recipe- flour, butter, eggs, sugar, spices- are pantry staples.

Since I was going to the trouble and expense of making the fruitcake, I decided to double the recipe and make it in 4 loaf pans, to share at our workplaces and keep some at home.

The recipe came together very easily:
1. In the evening, I chopped up the fruit and macerated it in rum overnight in a big stockpot.
2. Next morning, I gathered the ingredients together.
3. To the boozy fruits, I added apple cider, butter, sugar (I use a little less than the recipe calls for) and spices and cooked up everything into a thick slurry.
4. Once it was cool, the dry ingredients went it to make a thick batter and then the cakes were baked.

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My only reservation was that the blueberries bled into the batter making it an unappetizing gray colored mess. But the resulting cakes looked fine in the end. Since the cakes were baked on 13th December, I have been basting them with a good dose of brandy every 2-3 days.

I am so thrilled with the results. The fruitcake tastes wonderful; everyone who has tried it loves it. It is rich and boozy and a real holiday treat.

Here it is, Recipe #8: Fruitcake

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My sweet downstairs neighbor stopped by yesterday with a very thoughtful gift: a rosemary Christmas tree. It is just tiny and perfect. We dressed it up with cork elves and lights and the best part is that I have plenty of fresh rosemary on hand for herb breads and soups.

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We have a White Christmas today; you can see the snow starting to pile up outside the window.

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To all my friends who celebrate it, Merry Christmas!

And now, we are meeting up with friends for a movie (Sherlock Holmes) and Chinese dinner, also a Christmas tradition for some!

24 comments:

  1. Oh Nupur, leave it to you to have me craving even a *fruitcake* -- something I thought I would never want in a million years!! It looks too tempting. :)

    Have a wonderful Chinese dinner!

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  2. Very nice start, Christmas and fruit cake. Enjoy your weekend.

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  3. Fruit cake looks awesome. May be I'll make some next year :-) My post was actually for Recipe Marathon (2 bonus recipes to kick off), I updated it with marathon details. Thank you.

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  4. Awesome looking cake!! I love plum cake, have never tried it though, will try ur recipe :)

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  5. What a perfect start to the marathon! I have been wanting to make Alton's fruitcake for christmas for the longest time ever ... now, it's bookmarked for next year!! Looks deliciously boozy and moist .. yumm!!

    On another note, I tried e-mailing you, coz I wasn't sure whether I was supposed to e-mail you the link once the first post goes up. But, the contact form won't allow me to e-mail. So, pasting the link here: Here's the link: http://eatseatsandeats.blogspot.com/2009/12/from-happy-place-recipe-1_25.html

    So sorry about the long-winded comment! Thanks again for this wonderful event, and letting me join late!

    A very, very warm Christmas and New years to you and yours!

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  6. Wow, brandy & rum in a fruitcake..;).. it looks so delicious.. Merry Christmas to you too Nupur. a rosemary christmas tree is so cute..:)).. wish I had such a neighbor too....!!

    Siri

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  7. Nupur, I would love a serving of that fruitcake with all the booze and dry fruits.The christmas tree looks adorable with little elf-y.

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  8. hapy holidays, nupur. we posted our first recipe for the marathon today.

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  9. Delicious cake and happy christmas and new year!

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  10. ooh- yum! I love fruitcake-never realized it was such a maligned cake here in the U.S..I especially love the Indian version-'the plum cake'- does this taste anything like that?..gotta love a boozy fruity cake..:)

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  11. All the best to all the marathoners! Nupur that Rosemary plant is a perfect Christmasy gift for a foodie. Lucky you.

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  12. Lovely start-up! Very perfect for Christmas days. Your fruit-cake looks so good with nice combined colors. :)

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  13. Wonderful Christmas Gift! Loved the hanging elves. An fruitcake look perfect with all this !

    Merry xmas :)

    Hows Dale enjoying the Christmas?

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  14. Nice Rich Cake..Christmas Tree is so cute..

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  15. What a cozy sounding Christmas Nupur!! Have never had good luck with fruitcake. I have to try this fruitcake recipe next year - if you say its good, then it must be!! Thanks for sharing and the wonderful pics. Happy Hols!!

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  16. What a delicious marathon it is shaping up to be. And the fruit cake looks wonderfully special.

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  17. Your blog is one of the bestest(ok I just made that word.But really thats what I'm trying to say here:P) in a blogland. I'm your secret admirer for a long time. Keep up the great work .:) Happy New Year.
    And that fruit cake looks delicious.:)
    Seema

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  18. Happy holidays, Nupur! The fruit cake looks so yummy and its one of my favorites too! Rosemary Christmas tree is just so pretty and thoughtful! I haven't seen a rosemary plant before, has the plant been trimmed to look like a Christmas tree or is that the natural way it grows? Beautiful either way.. :)

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  19. Linda- Oh trust me this is not "that" kind of fruitcake :) hence the title of the post! Our Chinese dinner indeed was wonderful :)

    Madhu- Thanks- you have a lovely weekend too!

    Pavani- Your Andhra meal looked so wonderful! I'll have to get my hands on that book...

    Ambika- This recipe is totally worth trying.

    Sheetal Kiran- Don't worry about getting the link to me; I'll stop by your blog and find the latest entry. Holiday wishes to you and your family too!

    Siri- Yes, I am very lucky to have such kind (and fun) neighbors!

    susvaad- Thanks, we were oohing and aahing over our wee Christmas tree too :)

    bee- Your first recipe looks so good, and it is in the round-up now.

    Rekha Shoban- Thanks, and holiday wishes to you too!

    Lavanya- I think this tastes very similar to the Christmas cake/plum cake I remember eating in India. We are enjoying it so much!

    Anjali- My neighbor knows I love to cook and she was so thoughtful in picking this out!

    Sonia- Thanks, I loved how the deep jewel like colors of the dry fruits came through.

    Kanchan- Dale is enjoying us being around at home on weekdays, thanks to the holidays, so he can get more belly rubs than usual. He also loves walking in the snow, the cold does not seem to faze him at all :)

    Lavi- Thanks!

    Priya- There are some wonderful fruitcake recipes out there, so do try again :) Yes, cozy is the best word for our holidays, snuggling indoors from the cold!

    Seema- Why, thank you! Happy New Year to you too.

    PJ- I have no clue! This is the first time I am owning a rosemary plant :) It is a pretty sight!

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  20. The rosemary Christmas tree looks so cute and pretty adorned with your cork ornament people. A white christmas, a festive tree and a freshly baked fruitcake, such a warm and cozy Christmas!!

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  21. Yummy fruit cake - my favorite for Christmas!! It looks very delicious Nupur. Wish I could pick a slice and gobble it up.

    Apologies from me for not being able to post on 25th for the Recipe Marathon. We had net issues and thankfully its restored today. I have backdated the post for 25th and would be resuming for the Marathon from today. Hope you consider my entry Nupur.

    Merry Christmas!

    Thanks,
    Ashwini.

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  22. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year !!!

    There was some technical snag when I tried posting recipe on my blog.

    Due Apologies and hope you consider my entry.

    I have mailed you regarding the same.

    Best Wishes
    Rujuta

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  23. What a decadent cake Nupur..love it!!Hope you had a lovely Christmas with friends and family :)

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  24. Hello Nupur, Delurking today after following your blog for the last 2 years or so. I love your blog, love your writing, your stories and your cooking. From the comments of fruitcake recommendations I also decided to do the Alton Brown as I was already gearing up to make the Archana one so went ahead and did both. I used my precious stash of real dried fruit cranberries, pineapple, blueberries hoarded from my last trip and my illegal and extremely valuable rum (we cant buy locally as it is banned here) and normal candid peel and mixed fruits for Archana;s version. my family and I all enjoyed the Spicyana one, it was just fantastic. The Alton recipe failed for us, those loaves are not getting a second glance from anyone. too fruity but the other ones have vanished!! Sorry for the long comment. Regards from Kuwait - Angela

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