Sunday, February 16, 2014

Past Perfect Fruitcake

Normally, one associates fruitcake with Christmas. I am always looking for ways to sneak in various recipes however. Bob and I were scheduled to provide the food for the hospitality hour at church back at the end of January. Unfortunately for the production of Past Perfect Fruitcake I went back in the hospital that week. Bob produced the whole, unusually lavish snack himself, but did not make fruitcake.
This week, a friend of ours at church asked for help with the newcomers' brunch. Saint Margaret's is trying to increase membership and make newcomers feel welcome, hence a lovely social event mostly provided by a neighboring Greek deli, but with fruitcake for dessert.
Now I have to confess, the fruitcake did not seem to be flying off the table. Maybe people did not feel that fruitcake went with Greek food.  I hope the guys at the homeless breakfast program will enjoy it. What this is, for fruitcake lovers, is jewel-like crystallized cherries, crystallized pineapple and pecans in a very light batter. My husband tried to slice it but it crumbled. An inventive man, he hit upon serving the crumbly bits in cupcake papers where they looked very decorative. Please note, you will need baking parchment, which you can usually buy at the grocery store in the same area as the aluminum foil and plastic wrap. If you can't find baking parchment, you can use waxed paper.
Culinarily speaking, this recipe is just dump in ingredients, mix and bake. Simplicity in itself.
You may want to wait to serve this at Christmas, or you could serve it as part of a winter dessert buffet. You may not want to serve it with Greek food.

Past Perfect Fruitcake

4 cups shelled pecans
2 cups unchopped crystallized cherries
5 slices crystallized pineapple, each slice cut in eights
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
2. Grease the bottom and sides of a two-quart cake tin (I used a cheesecake pan.) and line the bottom of it with brown paper or parchment paper.
3. Combine the pecans, cherries and pineapple in a mixing bowl. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a sifter and sift the dry ingredients over the fruits.
4. Combine the eggs, sugar and vanilla in another mixing bowl and beat until blended. Pour this over the fruit and stir with a slotted spoon. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake one and one-half hours. At the end of that time, set the cake pan into a pan of boiling water and continue baking fifteen minutes longer. Makes one dozen servings.

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