I don’t like fruitcake, at least not most traditional fruitcake. I was tinkering around with my pumpkin-date bread, and wondering if I could make something that resembles fruitcake.
Well, it has fruit in it, but it’s not fruitcake. It is, however, damned tasty, albeit rich. One of the things I like about this bread is that all the fruits, with the exception of the ginger, are dried, not “candied.” No bright green and red cherries for me, thank you very much.
I could just link to the recipe and indicate the additions, but that would mean that I would have to look at two different entries if I wanted to make it. That would be a nuisance.
Pat’s Not Really Fruitcake
3 1/3 c. flour
2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t.salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg (Alton Brown is right: freshly grated nutmeg is amazing)
1/2 t. ground cloves
2/3 c. vegetable shortening
2 c. mashed or pureed pumpkin (I roast my own)
2 tbls. spiced rum (or brandy, or bourbon… scotch or tequila probably wouldn’t work, though)
2/3 c. milk
4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 2/3 c. sugar
1 c. Medjool dates, pitted and chopped (I found pitted Medjool dates in Safeway!)
1 c. chopped pecans
1/2 c. chopped dried pineapple
1/2 c. chopped dried apricots
1/2 c. dried cherries
1/2 c. chopped crystallized ginger
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9 x 5 x 3 loaf pans (I use disposable aluminum when I can find it, which seems harder all the time). Combine dry ingredients (the first seven), stir and toss together with a fork or whisk. (Or put them in a large Ziploc and shake.) In a large bowl, combine shortening, pumpkin, eggs, sugar, milk, rum and fruit. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mixing until just blended; there should be no dry flour, but there will be small bits of shortening that will disappear in baking. Place in pans, bake for a bit over one hour until a broomstraw or knife comes out clean. Cool in pans for 5 to 10 minutes. If possible, let cool completely before cutting it. Goes very well with cream cheese or chevre.
I am thinking of tinkering more with this; I wonder if the batter would hold up to me doubling all the fruit except the dates? If it’s successful, I’ll come back and update this recipe.
So there it is. Your holiday Not A Fruitcake. Much better than something with fruit that looks like it was grown in Chernobyl.
Happy Holidays, everyone.