Saturday, December 22, 2012

Texas Fruitcake

Texas Fruitcake
Source: Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts (Andrews & McMeel Publishing, 1999 ed.), pg. 76.

This is the first time I've ever made a fruitcake and I have to admit that I haven't been a fan of fruitcake in the past. Actually, it is not something that I have eaten a lot of and I don't ever recall my mother buying or making it. I was also influenced by the reputation that fruitcake has and we all know that it is widely panned. 

This is quite good and it is a recipe that I would make again. It is loaded with fruits and nuts. This is best served cold. I followed the recipe ingredients exactly except for two things - I used a combination of candied orange and lemon peel instead of just orange and I used some candied cherries since I didn't have enough pineapple. Maida mentions that diced candied ginger is also good. You can vary the fruit and nut ingredients to your liking. Great for the holidays!

It is helpful to have two mixer bowls ready before you start the recipe since you will be mixing the egg white mixture separately. For egg whites, I always chill the bowl and whisk in the freezer.

8 oz. (1 cup) pitted dates, left whole
1 cup cut-up candied orange peel, cut in 1/2 inch pieces, tightly packed
1 cup (4 to 5 slices) candied pineapple, each slide cut into 8 to 10 wedges
1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
8 oz. (2 1/2 cups) mixed walnut and pecan halves, left whole
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 TBS. bourbon        

Adjust oven rack 1/3 from the bottom and preheat to 325 degrees. Butter or spray a 9x5x3 loaf pan.

Line the pan with foil. Cut 2 strips, one for the length of the pan and other for the width.
The second strip will overlap the first. Brush the foil with melted butter or spray. Dust with bread crumbs.
The fruit you use can be a variety but the amount should be equal to those shown in the recipe.
Place the fruits in a large bowl and use 2 tablespoons of the flour (reserving the rest) and toss the fruit with your fingers to coat each piece of the fruit.
Add the nuts.
Toss the nuts with the fruit.
Sift the remaining flour with the baking powder and set aside.
Place the egg yolks in a mixer bowl.
Remove and reserve 2 tablespoons of the sugar.
Add the remaining sugar to the egg yolks and beat for about 5 minutes
until the mixture is very light.
Lower the mixer speed and add the vanilla.
Add the bourbon.
Add the sifted dry ingredients, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a
rubber spatula to ensure that it mixes well.
Add the egg whites in a separate mixing bowl. To beat egg whites, I always use the whisk attachment and chill it and the bowl beforehand.
Add the 2 tablespoons of sugar that you reserved earlier.
Beat the egg whites until they hold a shape but are not dry.
Fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Don't overdo and deflate the egg whites.
Pour the batter over the nuts and fruit.
Fold the ingredients together.
Transfer to the loaf pan.
Place a piece of plastic wrap over the pan.
Press it down firmly.
Remove the plastic wrap.
Bake for 75 to 90 minutes. During the last 30 minutes, place a piece of foil over
the top to prevent burning.
The cake is done when it is semi-firm to the touch.
Let it cool in the pan on a rack for 20 minutes before removing it.
Invert the cake and carefully remove the foil. Use another rack to invert the cake right side up.
After the cake has cooled completely, wrap it well, and refrigerate for a few hours. You can also freeze it if you wish to serve it at a later date. When you are ready to serve it, turn the cake upside down to slice it and use a very sharp knife. Cut with a sawing motion. This cake is difficult to cut in very thin slices. Serve the cake cold.

No comments: