Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Whiskey Pecan Fruit Cake

This is my great-great grandmother’s fruitcake recipe.  Before you sprain a finger speed-exiting this blog, hear me out.

This is good stuff.  No one admits to liking fruitcake.  No one.  (Except my friend Heather, who just now confessed).  But even those people who say they don’t like fruitcake like this:  my dad and my uncle can’t get enough, my grandma loves it, my aunt loves it and dare I say…I …uh…like it a lot.  I figure it has to be good to survive five generations. (the recipe not the actual fruitcake.)

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Aunt Sharron is the keeper of family traditions.  If you recall, she’s the maker of the Irish Enchiladas a recipe passed down from my Great Grandma.  And, now the family fruitcake recipe:

(A word about family fruitcake recipes:  You have one too.  I guarantee there’s a great aunt out there somewhere making your family’s fruitcake recipe right now.  But I digress.)

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This cake is rich and dense, rife with nutmeg, potent with whiskey.  We pulled eight gloriously bronzed loaves out of the oven a bit ago and my house smells like the inside of a gingerbread cottage abundant with spice and roasted nuts.  We’ve yet to wrap them in whiskey soaked cheesecloth but I have plans to liberate a crumb or three.  This recipe makes A LOT of fruitcake:  eight small loaves and one big one…feel free to halve the recipe.

I’m a little concerned the fruitcake baton is being passed to me and soon I will be known as the keeper of the family fruitcake tradition.  The family fruitcake-er.  If this came with some sort of magical ability like levitation or lighting candles without a match I’d consider it a fair trade but for now I’ll watch and learn and try to keep away from the Black Velvet.

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By the way I just have to comment on this glorious day.  This morning:  glittery frost, snuggled in one of my mom’s quilts on the deck, cradling a cup of hot green tea watching dawn steal across the bay.  A family of geese glide by; silent  black silhouettes.  Followed closely by a raft of widgeons and buffleheads whistling and chirping. 

Life is good.


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Whiskey Pecan Fruit Cake

½ cup candied orange peel

1 pound mixed candied fruit;

2 pounds dates or raisins or mixed dates/raisins

1½ cup butter, softened

2 cups sugar

1 cup molasses

6 eggs

1 heaping tablespoon baking powder

4 cups flour

2 tablespoons nutmeg

2 1/4 pounds pecans, divided

1cup whiskey

Do not cut up the pecans or dates; leave whole. Reserve some fruit pieces and 1/4 pound pecans for decorating the finished loaves.

Combine remaining nuts and fruit in colander and rinse with boiling water to remove the sticky sugar coating from the candied fruit.  Drain well then place in the largest bowl you have.

Cream together butter and sugar and add eggs one at a time until incorporated.  Add molasses and mix well.  Add whiskey and mix well.

Combine flour, baking powder and nutmeg in bowl and whisk well.  Add to butter/sugar mixture.  Mix well.

Pour batter over the fruits and nuts.  Mix well.

Line bread pans with with greased waxed paper. Press batter into pans level with the top of pan.  Decorate with reserved fruits and nuts.  Bake at 250⁰ for 4 hours or until done.  It’s done when the batter hardens across the top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. When cooled, wrap in whiskey soaked cheese cloth and wrap in wax paper then foil. Store in cool, dark place for a month or two; from time to time adding a little whiskey.


sandraj said...

The fruitcake looks so good. I guess I should learn how to make it. Maybe I will do half a recipe

Mustang Sally said...

I seem to recall your avidly stepping up for the fruitcake baton :p Looks wonderful!

Jim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim said...

Blogger Irish Jim said...

If a white and green sail boat were to silently were to slip while the fruitcake was cooling,surly you wouldn't miss a couple of loafs, now would you? Especially if that pirate were a bit of the Irish?

Bethany said...

Carla! Mom just told me about your blog and I have to tell you - I'm the Family Fruitcaker now. Yikes.

carla said...

Oh Bethany,

I'm so sorry...perhaps there is a support group for people like us?

carla said...

Hey Irish Jim,

I've been on the lookout but no pirates! Saved you a loaf and I'd say it's about ready...