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Holiday Fruit Cake

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My grandfather ate with this fork!
Antique Walnut & Pewter Fork circ. 1880 Bohemia
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Recipe by: Chef John V., A Good Cooking Recipe!

History: An updated version of my family's recipe using a few additional ingredients.

Description: Fruitcake has a better texture and taste if it is made in large rings or loaves. It also makes a big difference if it is refrigerated. Never serve it cold: it will be too chewy and will not taste as good as it should. You may however, cut it into 1/2 or 1/4, refrigerate or freeze each piece and take them out and bring to room temperature as you need them.

Serving size: about 16

Preparation time: 2 days, about 1 hour the 1st. day, 4 1/2 hours 2nd. day

Amount/Measure/Ingredient

The day before baking---Dice small and mix: 

2 cups glaced candied fruits (traditional fruit cake mix) 
1/4 cup dried apricots
1/4 cup walnuts, large pieces
1/4 cup pecans, halves
1/4 cup blanched/peeled almonds, whole
1 cup maraschino cherries 
1/4 cup crystallized ginger
1 cup Mejool dates 
1 cup golden raisins soaked in 1/4 cup orange juice

Pour a cup of Dark Rum (Meyer's is the best brand) over the diced fruits and nuts; cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 24 hours to marinate. 
The day of baking---

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees and grease a large standard size tube pan, then line with oiled waxed paper or parchment cut to fit the pan. To oil paper, brush both sides with about 1 tbsp. corn oil or vegetable oil.

Drain the fruit and save the liquor not soaked up. 

Cream together until light and fluffy with an electric mixer:
1 cup butter 
1/2 cup brown sugar 
1/2 cup honey 

Beat in the eggs one at a time, again with the mixer:
5 large eggs 

Mix/ sift together: 
1 1/2 cup flour 
1 tsp. salt 
1 tsp. baking powder 
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. cinnamon 
1/2 tsp. nutmeg 
1/4 tsp. mace
1/4 tsp. ground cloves 
1 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Add the flour mix to the butter mix alternately with: 
6 tbsp. of reserved rum from soaking the fruit, if you need more liquid make it up with orange juice. Mix and fold to a very well incorporated batter.

Dredge the fruit: mix/coat in a large bowl with 1/4 cup flour, so it won't fall to the bottom of the baking pan during baking.

Melt 1/4 cup butter.
Pour the batter over the fruit, add the melted butter and fold it gently but thoroughly. Pour into the tube pan, avoiding air pockets, but do not pack or flatten the mix.

Bake about 3 1/2 hours at 250 degrees. Because it bakes so long, so you should rotate the pans after an hour or so. Test with a skewer - the center will be moist but not doughy. Let cool about a half hour before turning out of the pan, don't force it out, let gravity do the work to release it. Then peel all the waxed paper before the cakes cool. 

Brush with syrup: 
Prepare the following, combine in a pot bring to a boil and remove from the heat---
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup Cream Sherry
1/4 cup water
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Dip a pastry brush in the syrup and brush the cake while still warm every five minutes with about 1 tbsp. each time until the cake is cool. Let the cake sit in any syrup that has accumulated on the bottom of the dish so it can be absorbed. Cover with a cake dome or plastic wrap and let it sit overnight before serving.

To serve, slice and dust with a little powdered sugar. If you refrigerate it, take it out 3 hours before serving to allow it to come up to room temperature.

Store in an airtight container.

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