Fruitcake is a British specialty. These heavy cakes laden with preserved fruit and nuts are a Christmas tradition. There are two versions – dark and light. Fruitcakes have a mixed review. They are loved by some and hated by others. They can be soaked with rum or brandy.
My preference is for light fruitcake using some mixed peel, dried apricots, the traditional raisins and almonds. My friend Anne and I would get together in Ottawa to prepare the fruitcakes over Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. In recent years, I have switched from making fruitcakes to making fruitcake cookies, which seem to be more popular. The best ones are made from freshly prepared candied fruit (from my olive merchant at the marché in Paris or specialty food stores) mixed with dried apricots. The mixed candied fruit from supermarkets tends to all taste the same and should be avoided if possible. When it is not possible, use in combination with other dried fruit.
This recipe uses a combination of mixed candied fruit and peel, dried apricots, raisins and dried cranberries with almonds.
Makes about 3 dozen
250 mL (1 cup) golden raisins
250 mL (1 cup) candied fruit (Macedonia mix, yellow & green pineapple, candied peel), chopped
125 mL (1/2 cup) dried apricots, chopped
125 mL (1/2 cup) fresh, dried cranberries, coarsely copped
125 mL (1/2 cup) slivered blanched almonds
125 mL (4 Tbsp / 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
250 mL (1 cup) granulated sugar
1 large egg
50 mL (1/4 cup) orange juice
425 mL (1-3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
5 mL (1 tsp) baking powder
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
Combine raisins, candied fruit and peel, cranberries, apricots and almonds; toss with 50 mL (1/4 cup) flour. Set aside.
In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in egg and orange juice. Combine remaining flour and baking powder; stir into batter. Add reserved fruit and mix thoroughly.
Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
Cookies can be stored in airtight containers for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 weeks.