You either love them or you don't. There is no middle ground. The haters find all kinds of excuses: Too dry, too mushy, too old fashioned.
I can't imagine Christmas without one. When I first left home I would beg my mother to include one of her church circle's fruitcakes among my gifts. I would return to school with it and cut off a slice every now and then. I would make it last as long as possible and enjoy every last bite.
The year that Mom announced that the "ladies" were too old to make fruitcakes was a sad one. I begged her for just one fruitcake for me. When that plea failed I asked for the recipe. "It is in the old Betty Crocker cookbook, " she said. One Betty Crocker cook book reprint later I tried the recipe. Total disaster. Not only did it not bake correctly, it didn't taste anything like those that the church circle made. That was years before the internet.
Two years ago, I googled "fruitcake recipes" and got many hits. I read them for what seemed like days and didn't find one that I really liked. So I wound up combining two. One was a "southern" recipe featuring lots of rum and brandy soaking. And lots of molasses (I have always loved dark fruit cake). The other was a recipe that featured LOTS of dried fruit...and none of the candied peel, candied cherries, or other traditional fruitcake ingredients. It has proved to be a hit.
Soaking the raisins and currants for two days in Captain Morgan gives a lovely flavor with a little bite. Adding a cup of strawberry jam keeps things moist. The fruit is a mixture of dried cranberries, blueberries, apricots, mangoes, and cherries. Oh, and 8 oz of citron. I just love it. And for a "non-alcoholic" mix, just substitute apple cider with lots of mulling spices for the rum...
Only the most die hard fruitcake haters will not join our ranks.
The Bearded One took one fruitcake to work on Tuesday. Today he took two more. two years ago I was making one batch of fruitcake. This year it looks to be three..