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).