Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Sweets

I inherited my dad's sweet tooth.  He loved candy, cakes and pies year round but most especially at Christmas.  For some reason we seldom make fudge and other candies except at Christmas.  I was about 8 when our family tried making taffy.  Dad always bought saltwater taffy at the Texas State Fair in Dallas but this time Mother cooked it up and Dad had my brother & me helping him pull it.  I remember how sticky and messy it was but it tasted yummy.  Don't remember ever trying that again.

Another of Dad's favorites and one of mine was fruitcake.  My friend Knitrageous wrote about the famous Collin Street Bakery fruitcakes.  They are really good but Dad's favorite was one his mother always made and Mother, then I, followed suit.  My grandmother would not tolerate wine or liquor in the house except for the bit of wine to season her fruitcakes.  She would wrap the cake in cheesecloth and saturate the cheesecloth with wine.  Then it was wrapped in foil and set aside for several days.  If she thought it was needed, a little more wine would be added.  I have used wine but also used apple cider for a teetotalers version.  Any fruit juice with a little "tang" would work.

I'll share the recipe for Dad's favorite, a dark fruitcake.  I like it very much but my favorite is actually a white fruitcake.

Fruit Cake  
Oven - 275 degrees 
Mix together:
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups brown sugar - packed in cup
4 eggs 
Beat vigorously for 2 minutes. 
Sift together:
2 cups sifted flour
1 tst baking powder
2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp allspice
1 tsp cloves 
Stir into oil mixture alternately with 1 cup fruit juice (pineapple or orange). 
Mix 1 cup more sifted flour into
1 cup shaved citron (Mother & I leave out & substitutes green cherries)
1 cup chopped candied pineapple
1 1/2 cup whole candied cherries
1 cup raisins (light are better)
1 cup chopped figs
3 cups coarsley chopped nuts
Pour batter over fruit, mixing thoroughly. 
Line 2 loaf pans with brown paper.  Pour batter in pans.  Place pan of water on lower oven rack.  Bake cakes 2 1/2 - 3 hours in slow oven - 275 deg.   
After baking let cakes stand 15 minutes & remove from pans & cool on rack without removing paper.  Cover & store to ripen.  If cakes are to be kept a long time remove paper & wrap in wine soaked cloth & store in cool dry place.


Knitrageous said...

Pat, that sounds delicious! I haven't made a fruitcake from scratch in a long time. My mom made fruitcake cookies and they were pretty good. I may have to go ahead and whip up a batch!

RoamingKnitter said...

Jamye, I know I don't have room to bake and store a full batch of 2 cakes from my recipe but your fruitcake cookies might be manageable. Good suggestion. Let me know how yours turn out.