Paw Paw’s Fruitcake
This recipe comes from my grandmother’s cookbook (my dad’s mom). Well, it’s hand written in the back of the book. And by book I mean pamplet from the International Associate of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. It’s the only cookbook she had as far as I know. Anyway, I’m getting off topic. A friend recently posted on Facebook that she wishes she had a good fruitcake recipe. This is the best one I know of, so here goes:
2 C Flour
1 C Sugar
1/2 lb Butter
1 lb glazed cherries (whole)
1 lb glazed pineapple (cut in large chunks)
4 C Pecans
Lemon Extract (about 2 t)
Vanilla Extract (about 2 t)
Optional (if you want to make it for my mom’s side of the family): Manischewitz wine (or Jack Daniels if you put my mom in charge of liquoring it up)
I didn’t say it was good for you, just that it tastes good. To make it seem healthier, I recommend switching the glazed fruits for dried fruits. I love dried ginger, apples, pineapple, peaches, apricots. Pretty much any dried fruit will do. Honestly, fruitcake is meant to be experimental, so try some different nuts or fruits or whatever (just no raisins. Those things are nasty! Wasted grapes in my book. Well, if you like raisins, I guess you can ruin your delicious fruitcake with their creepy raisininess. Sigh)
Also, the estimated extract measurements are pretty standard for my grandparents (I would be linking Maw Maw’s cornbread recipe here except it seems I haven’t written that post yet. How tragic! I’ll get right on that!). The fact that most of the ingredients have a specific measurement is pretty darn impressive.
Loaf pan (or cookie sheet if you want to go free form) – this can be a full-sized or some of those mini-loaf pans. OR try those new-fangled brownie pans. I think the crust is the best part, so let’s maximize it!
An oven (duh)
Mixing bowl and mixing utensil/appliance (my grandparents did all their mixing with a fork. Back in their day you didn’t have those fancy mixing machines! No sir! You had a fork and you were happy about it! OK, they never pulled any of the old codger “back in my day” stuff, but they DID use a fork for mixing. I don’t even know if they owned an electric mixer)
Chopping tools (unless you get the pre-chopped nuts and fruits)
Now for the actual making part:
Mix butter & sugar.
Add eggs one at a time, beating well.
Add lemon & vanilla extract.
Mix fruit and nuts with flour until thoroughly coated.
Mix in butter mixture.
Line pan with brown paper, greased and floured.
Bake in large tubular pan for one hour, 15 minutes at 350 F. If using smaller pans or 1 lb pans, bake at 300. You can also make cookies by dropping delicious globs of dough onto a greased cookie sheet. They cook for a whole lot less time. I’m not sure how long, so just keep an eye on the first round and do the rest just like that.
Now for the fun part. You can eat it straight from the oven (I recommend doing this with at least some of your cake) OR you can live dangerous and soak it in liquor. DO NOT PUT MY MOM IN CHARGE OF THE LIQUOR!!** WOWEE! When she said she’d soak it, she really meant it. I think my grandmother (mom’s mom) REALLY loved it, but she’s big into bourbon (as in she has been known to give out handles for Christmas. I love my Granny).
OKAY, so the soaking takes a bit of prior planning as you want to let the cake get soaked through. I’d say a week? I really don’t know. I think mom did it for the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. But you can use a variety of liquids. Bourbon may be a bit much (unless you love the stuff like my family does). Paw Paw always used Manischewitz wine. You could probably use Amaretto to sweeten it up. Just be experimental and let us all know what you tried and how it worked out in the comments!
**A consolation to my mom, that was the first time we’d tried the recipe and she didn’t want to mess up and under-do. I’m sure she’d do a much better job this time. Especially since she reads this blog and hasn’t bought my birthday OR Christmas gifts yet. I LOVE YOU MOM! 🙂