For years, I’ve heard jokes about bad fruit cake being better suited for a door stop than a snack, but I refused to believe that they have always been as bad as all that.

Started research on “old fashioned fruit cakes” that take a long time to make because all the ingredients are fresh and processed in the kitchen rather than emptied out of a plastic or steel can.

After reading many sites about various ingredients that typically goes into fruit cake, I put together a receipe of my own.

Candied Cherries

2 lbs. of fresh cherries, stems and pits removed and halved

  • Bring 2 C of white sugar, 1/2 C of water and 1/4 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice to a slow boil and add the cherries. Cook for 20 min. then put lit on the pan and let set and cool for 24 hours (don’t cheat on the time)
  • After 24 hours, remove the cherries, letting most of the very thick cherry/lemon syrup drip back into the pan, add 1C of fresh Apple Juice and bring to a boil. Add cherries back, use a candy thermometer and bring to 225°F (107° C), let cool. Remove cherries from syrup and store in an air tight container

Candied Pineapple

2 whole pineapples, skined, cored. Slice one into rings and one into cubes.

  • Bring 2C of sugar and 4Cup of water to a boil, add pineapple and boil slowly for 1/2 hour or until pineapples begin to turn transparent.
  • Lay pineapple rings and cubes on a wire cookie rack with plates or a cookie sheet underneath. Sprinkle heavily with sugar and let sit for 4 hours. Turn pineapple slices/cubes over and sprinkle heavily with sugar again. Place in air tight container, sprinkle heavily with sugar and seal the container until ready for use.

Candied Orange Peel

3 Naval Oranges – Use a paring knife, zester or vegetable pealer and take the outer skin off the oranges without cutting deep enough to reach the core of the orange.

  • Bring 2 C of water to a boil (nothing else at this point) and add the orange peels. Cook for 5 min. Pour into a strainer, disposing of the water, rince pan. Repeat process a total of three times. Makes the peels soft and removes some of the tartness.
  • Bring 2 C of water, 1 C of white sugar to a boil, added softened orange peels and boil on low for 20 min. Let cool. Store orange peels and syrup together in an airtight container until ready for use.

Dates

Sometimes Walmart will carry fresh dates. Best resourse is a Mediterranean deli/resturant. Dice up 3 to 4 Cups of dates into small cubes

Raisins

It’s the one ingredient I didn’t make from scratch. 1 lb. of Sunkist Raisins did fine. 🙂

Nuts

1 Cup (or more as you like) of walnut pieces and around 8 oz. of pecan halves. You’ll use about 4 oz. for garnish and 4 oz. chopped and added to the mix

Mix all the fruit ingredients (leaving out the pecans and walnuts for now) in a large pot.

Dry Mix

  • 3 Cup of white flour
  • 1/2 Tea. of Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Tea. of Allspice
  • 1/4 Tea. of Cloves
  • 1/4 Tea. of Nutmeg
  • Sift together in a bowl and set aside

Batter

  • 2 Cups of softened Butter (4 sticks)
  • 4 Cups Brown Sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 3/4 Cup of milk
  • Dry mix listed above

Mix softened butter and brown sugar together for several minutes, on medium speed, until mixture turns a very light brown. Add one egg at a time, about every two min. Set mixer to slow speed and add about a third of the dry mix, then 1/4 cup of milk, alternating until all the mix and the total 3/4 C of milk is added. Mix in medium for about three min.

Pour the batter into the fruit mix bowl, add walnuts and pecans and mix throughly by hand.

Use 3 10in. cake pans. Cover the bottom of each pan with parchment paper. I used three inch cooking rings (used to make english muffins) in the center to make the “hole” to help with baking. You can use a bunt style pan or angle food cake pan (though you can’t decorate the “top” of the cake if they around rounded. Fruit Cake mixture until the pans are 2/3 full (I made a mistake and filled them to the top…now I get to clean the oven…lol) Decorate the top using the candied cherries, candied pineapple and pecan halves.

Preheat oven to 280 and bake the cakes for 5-6 hours. Test with a toothpick starting at the 4th hour. Once it comes out clean, it is finished.

Wrap in cheese cloth or parchment paper and store the cakes store in a tin or air tight container.

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Decided to get creative and came up with the idea of Cranberry Apple Butter.

  • Half a peck each of Red Delicious, Jonathan and Granny Smith apples, pealed and cored
  • 4 C Fresh Cranberries
  • ~5 C sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Allspice
  • Freshly ground cloves (much better flavor)
  • Nutmeg

All added into a 2 gallon crockpot and cooked down till soft.  I take a large hand held strainer and a large slotted spoon, scoop the apple/cranberries one scoop at a time and press them in the strainer.  There are better ways and equipment to do it, but I work with what I have and it does great.  Cook down for about 4 hours.  Can using a hot water bath.  Yielded 8 half pints and 5 pints for me.

As far as measurements on the spices, about 4 tablespoons (heaping) of cinnamon and 2 each of the nutmeg, all spice and one of the ground cloves.  I flavor more to taste than exact measurements.  Instructions are only the beginning of cooking, not the end…

Just pulled two loaves from the oven.  Cinnamon Swirl Bread

3 C flour, 2 tea. yeast, 2/3 C sugar, 2/3 C. olive oil and 2 C. hot tap water,

Mix and set until it doubles in size.

Seperate batch into two loaves

Roll out until 2 feet long and wide as the baking dish.

Melt one stick of butter, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup cinnamon and 2 tea of vanilla, mix and spread thick over bread, gently roll it up, put in the baking pan-end piece on the bottom, spread light layer of mix over the top, let rise until doubled in size, bake 350°F for 30 min.   Time to brew some fresh coffee… 🙂

Honey Walnut Pie

Romancing the Bee

This is a delicious take on traditional pecan pie.  If you want something even more decadent, try adding some chocolate chips!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup honey
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1 deep-dish pie crust, unbaked

Directions

  1. Boil the honey. (It will boil quickly, so watch carefully)
  2. Quickly add eggs and mix well. (For the experienced cooks out there – yes, this sounds odd, but it does work.)
  3. Add everything else and mix well.
  4. Pour into pie shell. (You can sprinkle walnut halves on top at this point, if you wish.)
  5. Bake at 325 degree oven for 30-45 minutes, or until the center is set.
  6. Serve warm, topped with ice cream.

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