Fruitcakes have come a long way since their origin. No more picking the funny red things out of your slice of fruitcake. More dried fruits (including dried melon) and nuts are available than ever before, making this fruitcake something you can really enjoy (and not have to use as a doorstop).
Preparation time: 35 minutes
Cooking time: l hour and 35 minutes
Yield: 2 8-1/2-x-4-1/2-inch loaves (15 1/2-inch slices)
1 cup dried apricots
2 cups dried cranberries
8-ounce box chopped dates (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 cups walnuts
1 1/2 cups Brazil nuts
1 cup shelled, unsalted pistachios
1/4 cup candied orange peel
1/4 cup candied lemon peel
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
8 eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup brandy, plus additional as needed (optional)
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Line the bottom of two 8-1/2-x-4-1/2-inch loaf pans with wax paper or parchment paper.
Grease and flour them.
Quarter the dried apricots.
Combine the apricots, cranberries, dates, walnuts, Brazil nuts, pistachios, orange peel, and lemon peel in a large bowl.
If you don’t care for candied peels, leave them out. The cake contains plenty of other good stuff, so it won’t suffer if you omit the peels.
Sift together the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and baking soda into a bowl.
Cream the butter and sugar in a medium bowl on medium-high until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, beating after each one to incorporate.
The mixture will be thin and look curdled.
Add the vanilla.
Add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated.
Pour the batter over the fruit mixture.
Toss well until the nuts and fruits are coated.
The batter will just cover them.
Divide the mixture evenly between the 2 pans.
Smooth the top as much as possible, pressing down any ingredients sticking up.
Bake for 1 hour and 35 minutes, rotating once during baking.
Remove from the oven to a cooling rack.
Let them cool for 15 minutes.
Remove from the pans and peel off the paper, if necessary.
If you’re using brandy, turn the cakes over and, using 1/3 cup of brandy for each cake, generously brush the bottom and the sides with brandy.
If you’re not using brandy, simply cool the cakes, then wrap and store them.
Turn the cakes over and brush the remaining brandy on the top of each cake.
Wrap in cheesecloth that has been soaked with brandy.
Wrap in an airtight bag or container and store in the refrigerator.
Brush with additional brandy every few weeks.
A fruitcake without brandy keeps in the fridge for 2 weeks. A brandied fruitcake keeps for 2 months.
Per serving: Calories 287 (From fat 150); Fat 17g (Saturated 6g); Cholesterol 69mg; Sodium 102mg; Carbohydrate 32g (Dietary fiber 5g); Protein 6g.