Tuesday, January 02, 2007


God bless our food, God bless our drink; and keep our homes and ourselves in your embrace, O God.

Fresh fruitcake used to be an oxymoron to me until I found this recipe and a new New Year's Day tradition was begun. I love the symbolism of the dried fruit, the preserved riches of a warmer season, revived within this spirited (pun intended) cake full of the riches of a winter kitchen's pantry: molasses, cloves, ginger, brown sugar, cinnamon. Our new tradition of New Year's Day Fruitcake, begun 1 January, 2005, is a celebration of life and health, with a wish that these most basic and important blessings thrive in the new year.

It's from a Martha Stuart magazine, December 2004, and not, as far as I have been able to tell, archived on the website. I have adapted some of the dried fruits to my own taste, but otherwise, it is essentially as printed there. I have editorialized as well.

Tonight, the fruit part:

1 cup dried figs, chopped
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2-1/4 cup dried cranberries*
1/2-1/14 cup dried cherries*
1/2 cup of candied ginger, chopped
1/4 cup of candied orange peel, chopped(I used candied lemon peel this year, to good effect)
1/2 cup of Cointreau (orange-flavored liqueur; costly, worth it, no substitutions)

Stir together the dried fruit, candied ginger, peels in a small-medium size bowl. Douse with the full 1/2 cup of Cointreau, and stir to mix. The alcohol makes the fruit less sticky on the surface and easier to blend. I use a pretty ceramic bowl, and cover it with a snug fitting plate as a lid (rim fits the bowl rim). You can use plastic wrap. Let sit at least three hours or overnight. And we'll leave it to do so for this evening. *The original recipe does not include dried cherries or cranberries, but called for 1 cup of dried pears, chopped.

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