Recipe

Creole Christmas Fruitcake

  • Yield: 12 cakes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • Strips of zest of 2 lemons (about 3 tablespoons)
  • Juice of 2 lemons (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 pound of combination of dried fruits, such as blueberries, cranberries, cherries, raisins, and chopped apricots
  • 1 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 ounces almond paste
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 cup Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup silvered blanched almonds
  • 1 cup pecans pieces
  • 1 cup walnut pieces
  • 1/2 cup bourbon

Directions

  • Make a simple syrup by combining the sugar and water in a medium-size heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the lemon zest and juice and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil for 2 minutes and remove from the heat.
  • Combine the dried fruits together in a large mixing bowl. Pour the simple syrup over them, toss to coat, and let steep for 5 minutes. Strain and reserve the syrup.
  • Creme the butter, sugar, and almond paste together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle at low speed, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl. Beat until the mixture is fluffy and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing in between each addition on low speed and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add 1/2 cup of the Grand Marnier and mix to incorporate.
  • Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium-size mixing bowl and blend well. Add this mixture 1/2 cup at a time to the butter mixture with the mixer on low speed, each time mixing until smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. The batter will be thick. Add the warm fruit and all the nuts a little at a time, mixing well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease twelve 1 pound loaf pans. Spoon about 1 cup of the batter into each pan. Bake until golden and the tops spring back when touched, about 45 minutes (rearranging them after 25 minutes if necessary to brown evenly).
  • Cool for 10 minutes in the pans. Remove cakes from the pans and cool completely on wire racks. Wrap each cake in a layer of cheesecloth. Store in plastic storage bags until they are slightly stale, 3 to 4 days.
  • Combine the reserved simple syrup with the remaining 1/2 cup Grand Marnier and the bourbon. Without removing the cheesecloth, make tiny holes with a toothpick randomly on the top of each cake. Pour 2 tablespoons of the syrup over the top of each cake once every 2 to 3 days until all of the syrup is used. Let the cakes age for up to 3 weeks before eating.