A brown butter fruitcake recipe that may make you a fruitcake fan

Brown Butter Fruitcake

Energetic time:35 minutes

Whole time:3 hours 10 minutes

Servings:10 to 12 (makes one 9-by-5-inch fruitcake)

Energetic time:35 minutes

Whole time:3 hours 10 minutes

Servings:10 to 12 (makes one 9-by-5-inch fruitcake)


My journey to fruitcake appreciation has been a winding one.

By up to date requirements, fruitcakes don’t look particularly scrumptious. Perhaps as a result of they’re usually darkish, dense loaves studded with nuts and dried fruit, neither of which ever had a whole lot of attraction to me rising up. At the same time as a sugar-obsessed child, I’d flip my nostril up at oatmeal raisin cookies.

What I do have, nevertheless, is a lifelong ardour for supporting underdogs. I’ve clear reminiscences of forcing myself to love licorice jelly beans. I’d commerce the youngsters within the cafeteria for them and cram them down regardless that I hated the flavour. And it labored! As we speak, I genuinely get pleasure from licorice in addition to different usually maligned meals.

Once I realized that in the UK fruitcakes are sometimes paired with cheese, I used to be smitten. My first chunk of a salty, wealthy cheddar on a aromatic, spiced piece of fruitcake opened me as much as the chances of this mixture. And shortly I spotted that this notorious punching bag of vacation fare was ripe for rehabilitation.

I had already come to understand actually lovely dried fruit after I labored at the now-shuttered Michelin-starred restaurant Vary in San Francisco. The pastry chef, Michelle Polzine, would make panforte as a bit of deal with on the finish of the meal, utilizing solely preserved fruit from the Bay Space — attractive apricots, prunes and raisins. There, too, I first realized of June Taylor, who up till 2020 made and offered fruitcakes yearly that includes the most effective of California’s dried produce and nuts. Her desserts had been a love letter to the seasons and a testomony to a time when fruitcakes represented the very peak of luxurious — even serving as the normal wedding ceremony cake of the British royal household.

I take into consideration this arc rather a lot when baking — how components which can be commonplace now would as soon as have been extremely valuable. Simple sufficient for me to show my nostril up at an oatmeal cookie with cinnamon and raisins in 1990 — cinnamon is a typical spice, and I had a cardboard field of California raisins in my lunchbox most days.

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However what wouldn’t it have been prefer to eat a slice of fruitcake in 1518, when wars had been fought over spices and one may solely eat recent fruit in season?

A well-constructed fruitcake is a magical examine in distinction, laden with fruit dried on the peak of its taste, heat spices and crunchy nuts. These identical attributes could make a fruitcake the star of a vacation cheese board, taking the place of a chutney or candied nut combine.

How to build the ultimate cheese board

Many conventional winter cheeses, resembling Stilton, characteristic a bracing saltiness that serves as an ideal foil to the sweetness of fruitcake. An aged cheddar enhances this recipe superbly as nicely. A good friend advised me how her British grandmother would toast stale slices of fruitcake within the oven till they had been simply crispy, serving them heat so {that a} slab of excellent cheese would simply begin to soften on them. In Lancashire, the normal pairing options fruitcake with Wensleydale, the cheese made well-known within the animated tales of Wallace and Gromit. Wensleydale additionally historically ripens simply in time for the Christmas season. An aged Gouda, with its crystalline salt crunch, can be one other fabulous addition to your fruitcake cheese board.

Whereas the figs, dates, cherries and walnuts I exploit in my recipe are fabulous collectively, be happy to mess around with what you’ve gotten readily available. A pantry-clearing powerhouse, this recipe may allow you to expend the final of that bag of apricots or smattering of pecans. A extremely good fruitcake will be like a time capsule: The whole lot that was good and delightful a few 12 months, condensed right into a wealthy, dense package deal.

When you desire to abstain from booze, you possibly can substitute a robust black tea to scrumptious impact. If utilizing alcohol, my solely recommendation can be to make use of one you wouldn’t thoughts ingesting straight. Your booze ought to ideally be brown and warming: I counsel brandy, however you could possibly additionally use bourbon or an amber rum.

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One other tip can be to make use of fruit you truly like vs. what you contemplate conventional: Suppose raisins, dried peaches or candied orange. Perhaps you wish to use a rustic as your inspiration. An Italian method would possibly name for apricots, orange, lemon and almonds. Lastly, your spices needs to be recent and aromatic. I like to characteristic the single-origin spices of the businesses Diaspora or Burlap & Barrel in my fruitcakes.

All of this isn’t to say your fruitcake received’t be tremendous tasty in case you don’t use premium spices, nuts or booze. And, you certain don’t need to dry and sweet your individual fruit — however perhaps simply don’t use the Technicolor stuff from the ’50s, okay?

Mace will be tough to seek out, though it’s pretty right here and is price in search of out. Chef Bronwen Wyatt buys it entire and grinds it recent. Allspice makes a high-quality various; in actual fact, be happy to mess around with completely different warming spices.

Storage: The cake will be nicely wrapped and saved at room temperature for as much as 5 days, or frozen for as much as 3 months.

NOTES: In contrast to conventional fruitcake, this recipe doesn’t name for growing old. When you select to age the fruitcake, wrap it nicely in brandy-soaked cheesecloth, place it in a lidded container and retailer in a cool, darkish place for as much as 3 months. You’ll have to dampen the cheesecloth with brandy each few days. In any other case, place the cake in an hermetic container and retailer on the countertop. It may be made as much as 5 days upfront, and freezes superbly, when you have additional.

The cake additionally will be made in two 6-inch spherical cake pans. If utilizing the spherical pans, lower two parchment paper circles to suit the underside of the pans, then liberally spray with nonstick baking spray. Proceed with the remainder of the recipe, however lower the baking time to 1 hour quarter-hour. Cool for 20 minutes, then run a butter knife across the perimeter of the cake earlier than unmolding. When you let the fruitcake cool utterly within the pan, you might discover it trickier to unmold — it’s best when the fruitcake remains to be barely heat.

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  • Nonstick baking spray
  • 2 cups (180 grams) walnuts halves
  • 1 cup (140 grams) dried figs, chopped into ½-inch items
  • 1 cup (140 grams) pitted dates, chopped into ¼-inch items
  • 1 cup (140 grams) dried cherries
  • ½ cup (170 grams) honey, cane syrup or golden syrup, resembling Lyle’s model
  • ½ cup (118 grams) brandy (could substitute with black tea brewed at double power)
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon floor cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon floor mace (could substitute with floor allspice)
  • 1 cup (220 grams) packed gentle or darkish brown sugar
  • 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon high-quality salt
  • 1 stick (4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter
  • 2 massive eggs

Place a rack in the midst of the oven and preheat to 300 levels. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with nonstick baking spray, then line it with a chunk of parchment paper lengthy sufficient to have a beneficiant overhang on every of the lengthy sides (see NOTES). Grease the parchment as nicely.

Prepare the walnuts on a small, rimmed baking sheet and toast for 12 to fifteen minutes, or till aromatic and golden brown. Switch to a slicing board, let cool barely, then roughly chop and place in a small bowl.

Whereas the nuts are toasting, in a medium bowl, toss collectively the figs, dates and dried cherries till mixed.

In a 2-cup (480-milliliter) liquid measuring cup, whisk collectively the honey or syrup, brandy, lemon juice and lemon zest till mixed, and put aside. In a small bowl, whisk collectively the cinnamon, nutmeg and mace. In a medium bowl, completely whisk collectively the sugar, flour, baking powder and salt to mix and aerate; put aside. (You would possibly discover that the brown sugar clumps a bit of; that is high-quality.)

In a 4- to 5-quart nonreactive pot over medium warmth, soften the butter and prepare dinner, stirring often, till the solids flip brown, about 5 minutes. Flip off the warmth and stir within the spices (it will assist bloom the flavour of the spices and suffuse them into the fruitcake). Rigorously, add the honey or syrup combination — the contents of the pot could bubble up — and stir to mix. Add the dried fruit combination and stir to coat. Flip the warmth again to medium-low and produce the combination simply to a simmer, stirring often, about 1 minute. Flip off the warmth and let the combination cool till heat, about 20 minutes, or utterly.

As soon as the combination has cooled, stir within the eggs, one by one, and blend completely to include. Stir within the dry components till no hint of flour stays, then fold within the walnuts. Scrape the batter into the ready loaf pan and easy out the highest with an offset spatula or spoon, if wanted. Bake for 1 hour 35 minutes, or till the fruitcake is deep, burnished brown and has simply begun to tug away from the perimeters of the pan.

Switch the fruitcake to a wire rack and let cool within the pan for about 20 minutes. Use the parchment sling to raise the fruitcake from the pan, and let cool utterly earlier than serving.

Energy: 403; Whole Fats: 19 g; Saturated Fats: 6 g; Ldl cholesterol: 51 mg; Sodium: 146 mg; Carbohydrates: 54 g; Dietary Fiber: 4 g; Sugar: 40 g; Protein: 5 g

This evaluation is an estimate primarily based on accessible components and this preparation. It shouldn’t substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s recommendation.

Tailored from chef Bronwen Wyatt of Bayou Saint Cake in New Orleans.

Examined by Olga Massov; e-mail inquiries to [email protected].

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