Its Christmas again…Christmas tree…decorations…Christmas Lighting….and the traditional Christmas Cake…..What’s Christmas without that rich, boozy fruit cake?
My earliest memory of Christmas Fruit cake was the amazing Royal Iced Christmas Fruit cake (known as Plum cake in most parts of Kerala) from Cochin Bakery. Calicut. For years, we’ve never even tried another one. Cos it’s so moist and full of yumm fruits…. And it became a tradition by itself.
However, since three years, I’ve been making my own Traditional Christmas Fruit Cake, and yes, I just love this Christmas fruit cake and feel a sense of great achievement when my family and friends take a bite of that rich, heavenly cake. And I hope to carry this tradition every year…
This year will be a special and a busy Christmas , and I have soaked my fruits well in advance, and so can you…Isn’t it great to bake your own Christmas cake for your family?
Here’s a beautiful shot of all those fruits soaked in rum…….previous year shot
The Traditional Christmas fruit cake is made from fruits that have been soaked in alcohol (rum/ brandy/ whisky/ sherry) for as early as one year, and baked to perfection a 2 to 3 weeks before Christmas and is periodically fed with small batches of alcohol to keep it moist and soft (once a week- 2-3 tsp brandy), and the taste improves as it ages. The fruit soak is what gets this Christmas cake to perfection.
But in today’s, fast-paced life, it is almost impossible to find time to soak your fruits. I usually soak fruits for 3 to 4 weeks and then bake the cake a week ahead and feed it with alcohol after a week, just before Christmas Day… The flavors of the cake will intensify and the fruit in the cake will soften and be delicious. However, the earlier the better, as the fruits get to absorb all that alcohol, and tastes better.
Its better if these are soaked in glass jars….better to avoid metal or steel jars and vessels..Remember to give the fruits a quick stir everyday, so that its evenly soaked and distributed with all flavors…
I’ve not made any changes to the Christmas fruit soak this year, thanks to a beautiful description and fine points from PinkWhisk. Just few changes to the quantity of the fruit, otherwise, I’ve just stuck to the process by Pink Whisk.
Fruits for the soak:
100g dried figs, chopped
100g dates, chopped
100g mixed peel (orange, ginger, apricot and some tuttifrutti)
150 gms chopped prunes, chopped
Additional items for the soak:
Orange- 1 (zest and juice)
Cinnamon Stick- 1 whole
Caster Sugar- 50 g
Brandy- 180 ml
The first step is to get the fruits ready. Chop them into bite sized pieces (the size of golden raisins). This means the prunes, figs, dates have to be chopped into smaller pieces.
Add fruits into a large bowl (preferably glass or ceramic, else the alcohol may react with any metal or other substances). Add orange zest and the cinnamon stick.
In a pan, add orange juice and sugar, and heat on low flame, until sugar dissolves (make sure that it doesn’t boil). Remove from heat, and pour brandy over it. Stir well and pour over the fruit.
Mix everything and cover the bowl. Ensure its air tight…Store it at room temperature where there’s no direct sunlight.
Give it a quick stir everyday, until you bake the cake.
If you don’t want alcohol in your fruit cake, just use this sugar syrup method to soak your fruits: In a pan, add 200 g caster sugar in 200 ml water, and heat it until sugar dissolves. Pour this over the fruit.
Here’s the link to the Christmas Fruit Cake recipe …So get set, and soak you fruits for the big day!!