Today marks a special ritual in my life and in the matrilineal line, for which I am grateful. One of my sweet memories of Mom was fruitcake making and for some reason I took in the particularities as well as the product. She was an ace and ahead of her time, preferring less candied fruit and lots of nuts. Other than this I have no cooking aptitude or interest.
I have taken this art form further and this year I am sure will be a high water mark based on the scents of the day. My son just won an award for a marijuana extract and I believe my fruitcake should match the equivalent quality of his Banana Split - though I have nothing to base this on. Naturally I am too soon counting chickens because the eating will wait for months (except for one tiny piece).
A week ago I began soaking my own dried plums and apple leather, orange chips I make of thinly sliced and dried oranges, organic dried figs, apricots, and cherries. No candied fruit with the exception of ginger. Sister Joan gifted me a bottle of her own cherry brandy which bathed and plumped the fruit.
Then today was baking day, and I only ever loosely follow recipes but nothing said to do it Mom’s way which I chose to do. After combining the fruit and nuts in my largest bowl, think bread making, I covered them with the dry ingredients - no wheat flour, rather mostly almond flour, then stirred in the wet. The aroma of freshly shredded nutmeg, and pulverized cardamom, cloves and cinnamon was exquisite.
The most tense part of the operation is the baking since I’m completely unable to follow time when something is in the oven - I forget about it. I set my phone timer forgetting the start button. So I believe they may have been ovened for far too long but because there was so much excess liquid due to the brandy dowsing, I think it kind of worked out, darker on the top than usual, but OK.
They are now shrouded in muslin to hold the brandy soak in place, and are tucked into their little beds for awhile.
Tonight I rest knowing that all is well with the world, Banana Split and Mom inspired fruitcake.