by 1 big bite on November 29, 2012
Believe me or not but November is almost over. Like every year December will arrive sooner as expected and with that the holiday season will officially start. I would like to tell you, I got all my gifts for my loved ones, wrapped and ready to go. But that’s only half the truth and the other half is a lie. Don’t get me wrong, I think Christmas is not all about that but I love to pick presents, for me it’s a nice part of it. At least I got my Christmas tree up and good lord that is a wonder.
For me the most precious gifts are at least chosen with heart and care or even better they are handmade. Although I baked this fruitcake just for me and I won’t share if I don’t have to, it makes an excellent gift especially if you want to ship it. It is actually more like a bread, stays nicely in shape and the best part, it gets even more delicious when it sits or travels for a few days. It is a very traditional recipe at least before I laid my hands on it. As I love to bake at least one fruitcake every season I tweaked it a little bit every time and more for a German recipe unusual ingredients sneaked in. I switched hazelnuts and almonds for walnuts but pecans will also work just fine. As for the dry fruit part, I skipped candied lemon peel and added lime zest to balance the sweetness of the fruits. Be creative with your dried fruit choices, I usually add figs and/or dates but run out of them and I had to use up those dried plums sitting in my pantry for too long (even for dried plums). The dried cranberries in company with dried apricots add a little color and different flavors. Mix and match but you should have 600 g / 21.2 oz. all together at the end. If you like and you have time for that, let them sit in a little booze like rum, amaretto or Cointreau over night or a couple of hours. I like my slice of Früchtebrot with some salted butter or cream cheese, but that’s maybe just me?
Früchtebrot, German Christmas Fruitcake
- 110 g / ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 100 g / ½ cup brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp. maple syrup or honey
- 3 large eggs
- 150 g / 1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp. fine sea salt
- 250 g / 8 ¾ oz. dried plums, chopped
- 50 g / 1 ¾ oz. dried golden raisins
- 100 g / 3 ½ oz. dried cranberries
- 200 g / 7 oz. dried apricots, chopped
- 1 ½ – 2 Tbsp. Cointreau (optional)
- grated zest of one lime
- 225 g / 8 oz. chopped walnuts
- Preheat your oven to 175 C / 350 F. Grease and line a loaf pan 23 cm / 9 x 5 inch with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
- Beat butter, brown sugar and maple syrup or honey at medium speed with an electric mixer. Add eggs and continue beating.
- Add flour mix and beat at low speed just until blended. Stir in remaining ingredients with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
- Spread evenly in prepared loaf pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack. Store airtight for 3 days for an enriched flavor (good luck with that).