This may be hard to believe, but there are those that are not fans of fruitcakes. I love all fruitcakes, even the store bought ones containing those mystery neon green and red tidbits so I will let the late, great Johnny Carson discuss the fruitcake's dark side.
Johnny Carson was not a fan. He recommended storing any gifted fruitcakes in a closet to re-gift the following Christmas. Interestingly, this may not be a bad thing for real fruitcake aficionados. Some (NOT ME) will not even contemplate eating a fruitcake less than three years old. Ha! No food lasts three years in my house! The requisite three weeks for this recipe is hard enough to endure.
Let's take a deep dive into the science of fruitcakes with Alton Brown. After all, 2020 is all about the science and Brown's Free Range Fruitcake is his answer to just about every fruitcake critic. It is GOOD EATS!
Why is fruitcake this year's perfect gift?
1. The fruit is macerated in rum for 24 hours, tasty and useful, killing any dastardly germs.
Pro tip #1-do not allow self maceration by the chef the night before this step. There will not be enough rum to properly soak the fruit! But really, does the fruit need THAT much rum?
2. The finished cake is spritzed with brandy once it comes out of the oven and then every third day for the next three weeks. Safety first! I have this great germ joke I'd like to tell right now, but, in good conscience, I don't want to spread it around!
(CAUTION-do not place spritzed cake near a candle or other open flame. I may or may not have learned this the hard way given the positioning of the cake to my gas range top.)
3. The recipe can be tweaked as necessary. Believe it or not, there are those that do not like raisins. I know, I know, very strange! How about substituting dried figs or dates for the raisins? You don't like dried apricots, try dried peaches. You don't like pecans, then substitute walnuts. If you do not like brandy, try spritzing the cake with triple sec or, even better, Grand Marnier. If you don't like dried cherries, forget it. I can't help you!
4. If the fruitcake beneficiary still does not like the cake, it can be placed in a dark corner of the closet for Christmas gift giving 2021. I do miss Johnny Carson!
I give you the perfect ADULT Christmas gift for 2020! I would love to hear your choice for this year's perfect gift below.
Pro tip # 2-It is very difficult to tell when this cake is done. My first experiment with this cake looked more like a chocolate lave cake when I cut into it. The solution is to insert a meat thermometer into the center of the cake when it starts getting close to done. When the thermometer reads 195-200 degrees, it is done.
Pro tip 2. When measuring your flour, always work above the sink. Again, I may or may not of learned this the hard way, but never, ever hold the flour canister and a nearly full cup of flour in the same hand as you tip the canister to get the last bit of flour out of the canister. There is a good chance you will lose that cup of flour. Ok, I admit it. I do have personal experience with this one! To borrow Martin Yan's tagline, If Ray can cook, you can too!
The cake is good! Many of my friends have been pleasantly surprised. I do believe they are already looking forward to next year's fruitcake. Don't tell anyone, but I have several already tucked away in a dark corner for next year!
MERRY CHRISTMAS! ! ! ! !
Thank you Carol Williams and Anna Banana Kruchten CRS CRB, Phoenix Broker for this year's Christmas Challange I LOVE CHRISTMAS!
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