Thursday, November 24, 2022

Christmas Fruitcake and Thanksgiving Baking

Since American Thanksgiving is all about the table and what's on it (or the t.v. tray and what's on it!), and since friends who urge me to keep blogging tell me they welcome my food musings, I thought I'd share this today. 

It's that time of year, fruitcake-making time. On 15 November, I started soaking candied peel, which we made last winter, and other dried fruits mixed with nuts. I soaked all of these in port wine and some pear liqueur we made several years ago by macerating pears in vodka and adding sugar. 

The rule of thumb of my maternal grandmother, who made the dark, rich, spicy, nut- and fruit-laden fruitcake for our Christmas dinner, was that fruitcake should be baked by Thanksgiving. Then it sat in a closed tin with slices of apple on top, and was doused with sherry or whiskey until Christmas day.

Then on 21 November, I baked my Christmas fruitcakes and they're now resting in their closed tins and will have whiskey and port wine poured over them until Christmas is near. I made far fewer this year because I am not certain many people have my passion for fruitcake. I normally make a big batch of cakes of various sizes to give away as gifts. We’ll keep one for our Christmas dinner, and I’ll give the rest away to folks I know who do enjoy fruitcake.

The rest of the candied peel, dried fruit, and nuts that are still soaking in port wine and homemade pear schnapps, I’ll turn into mince tarts. I will mince the mix finer before I bake it in tart shells. I’ve added to it a good dose of grated nutmeg, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cardamom, and ground coriander and will add melted butter and grated apple before I bake the tarts. That baking will start tomorrow, I think, the Thanksgiving holiday (we have an invitation to share a meal today with cousins I thoroughly enjoy) over and done with.

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