Monday, December 04, 2006

Golden Marzipan Fruitcake

We made our fruitcakes over the weekend--starting Thursday with chopping and macerating fruit, and ending Saturday with five beautiful cakes cooling on the stovetop. They are now tucked cosily away in my enormous Boy Scout Popcorn Tin (thanks Felix for his aggressive sales talk!) ripening for gifts and for afternoon enjoyment with tea.

Before I share the recipe I would like to state that this is an absolutely delicious cake and should never be presented as a *fruit*cake, lest you scare people away. So, the recipe is adapted closely from Nigella Lawson's in How to Be a Domestic Goddess and it follows shortly. Note that this is a two-day affair both for practical reasons (freezing and macerating), and emotional--it's just so much more fun to mix up the cake when everything is prepared ahead of time!

Day One:

1. Cube an 8-ounce can of almond paste into dice-sized blocks and set on saucer in freezer overnight.

2. Slice one pear as thinly as possible. Line a cookie sheet with foil, then spray with Pam. Lay pear slices out neatly and flatly, and put in a 250 oven for a couple of hours, turning over after one hour. You are approximating dried pear, but your slices can retain more moisture than the leathery chips from the store. When dry enough, cool, coarsely chop, and add to fruit and brandy bowl.

3. Choose from the following and chop if necessary:

dried cherries--these are so, so good in this cake!
golden raisins
dried figs
--great grainy texture!
dried cranberries

4. When you have a total of two cups, place in a glass bowl and pour 1/3 cup brandy over. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and leave overnight.

5. Grind 1/4 c. almonds in blender or food processor.

Whew! You have done all the hard part and tomorrow will be easy and fun.

Day Two

Cream together:

1 cup + 2 T. flour
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter
2 eggs
1 t. orange extract
zest of 1 organic lemon

and your ground almonds

Stir in your prepared frozen almond paste and drained fruit (actually mine usually soaks up all the brandy). Spoon into a springform pan, or round cake pan, which you have buttered and lined with wax or parchment paper. Bake at 250 for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. A cake tester should come out clean.

After it cools, lift it out of the pan by its paper. Wrap the whole shebang in foil and put it in a tin and leave it for a week. As many times as you like, you may check on it and spoon tiny spoofuls of brandy over it, first poking some toothpick holes. Rewrap and count the days.


Lisa said...

My mouth is watering!

Margaret in VA said...

Sounds wonderful! I make one that is an applesauce spice cake with lots of dried fruits and nuts!

Rebecca said...

I happen to like fruitcake. This one sounds like a real winner; I'll stash the recipe for future reference. Thanks for sharing, Anna!

Camille said...

I love fruitcake but add marzipan to it and oh boy! I have about 2 pounds of dried cherries in my cupboard and a can of marzipan. This is calling my name!

Camille said...

I popped over from your comment on Like Mother, Like Daughter. :-)

Leila said...

This sounds wonderful. Thanks!

Margo said...

I'm all set to make this, finally! How many days must the cake wait and be soaked?

Anna said...

Well, Nigella recommends a couple of weeks, but as she says, this is "a counsel of perfection." It's very edible the next day!

Margo said...

Thank you! We'll wait as long as we can.

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