October 7, 2009

Christmas Baking, Part One

Yep, I said it. Christmas Baking.

No I'm not insane. Well, I might be insane but not in this instance. Yes, Christmas is more than two months away but when it comes to Fruitcake, the longer it has to settle in, the better it is.

Oh yes, Fruitcake.

Now before you cringe and click away, hear me out. That fruitcake you've had, those cellophane wrapped logs from the grocery store, those overpriced loaves from Harry and David? Crap, all of them. The problem with fruitcake is there is SO MUCH bad fruitcake out there.

This is not that kind of fruitcake.

This is my grandmothers fruitcake. My honest to goodness, English granny's fruitcake (she would have hated to be called a granny though I bet, not her style at ALL!) My grandparents met in England after the War. If my memory serves me correctly my grandmother was a waitress at a bar my grandfather, who was on leave from his posting in Germany, was visiting. After my father was born they moved to California where they raised two sons and where my grandmother made fruitcake every Christmas.

After she died my grandfather carried on the tradition and in the last years of his life he passed the recipe onto my dad and I. The first time we made it was, ummm, interesting. Let's just say some changes must have been made over the years that were not added to the recipe and some frustration ensued after which I became the fruitcake maker of the family. I've had a few years to try out some of the changes that I think were made and last year I think I came pretty close, the cake was rich and dark and sticky and perfect with a cup of tea. But it needed a little more time to sit in the back of the cupboard doused in sherry. So this year I'm giving it an extra month of soaking.

So far it's just a big old pudding basin of fruit soaking in rum and grape juice and molasses and REALLY strong tea, but by the time December rolls around, ummm, it will be perfect. Just you wait.