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Sunday, December 13, 2020

Grandmas and Fruitcakes

One tradition that has been around since the Middle Ages is fruit cake. Ancient Romans first would make the fruit cake and later the cake caught on in Europe and became very popular during the 18th and 19th century. Many at this time considered it a delicacy and the ingredients to some were luxuries. While many fruit cakes today are made with dried fruit, nuts and spices during the fruit cake popularity there was a great variety of them available. However, the fruit cake has received much ridicule and teasing but in this post I want to share with you a delicious recipe that my grandmother made each year. 

The Christmas tradition in America was brought by the British. Often the dessert is called Christmas cake or Plum Cake. In Victorian England the cake was saved for special occasions and Christmas. 

Now onto the recipes. It is so funny that my grandmothers were good friends but they each liked to criticize the other. The one difference my grandmother saw was that she owned her land and the other leased That was not where it ended though as they were both in the same home economics unit and loved to boast about what they were doing. So to please them both I am sharing 2 fruit cake recipes each of them would make one or the other. I love my grandmas and miss them dearly 

Swedish TeaRing

3 1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups very warm milk 120 degrees F
1 egg beaten
3 tablespoons butter softened
5 tablespoons butter softened
1/2 cup brown sugar packed
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
candied red and green cherries optional

In the bowl of your stand mixer using the paddle attachment combine 2 cups of the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Add warm milk, egg and butter until well combined. Slowly add in remaining flour until the dough starts to come together. Change to your dough hook and knead for 5 minutes. Cover and allow to rise until double in a warm place. (About 25 minutes)
Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the brown sugar, sugar and cinnamon for the filling of the tea ring, set aside. Lightly grease a large baking pan and set aside.
Punch dough down and roll out to a 20"x12" rectangle. Spread with softened butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture. With the long side facing you begin to roll up the dough into a long log. Seal the seam by pinching the dough together. Bring the ends together and pinch the dough together to seal. Place on prepared baking sheet seam side down.
Using a pair of kitchen scissors cut the dough in 1 to 1 1/2" sections around the ring be careful not to cut the whole way through. Gently pull up each section and give it a small twist and lay back on the pan. Cover and let rise until double.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Decorate with optional candied cherries. Also may drizzle with a powdered sugar glaze.

Plum Pudding

Each pudding serves 12

Fruit Mixture (To be made 4 days ahead)
1 pound seedless raisins
1 pound sultana raisins
1/2 pound currants
1 cup thinly sliced citron
1 cup chopped candied peel
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon mace
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound finely chopped suet – powdery fine
1 1/4 cups cognac
1 1/4 pounds (approximately) fresh bread crumbs
1 cup scalded milk
1 cup sherry or port
12 eggs, well beaten
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Blend the fruits, citron, peel, spices and suet and place in a bowl or jar. Add 1/4 cup cognac, cover tightly and refrigerate for 4 days, adding 1/4 cup cognac each day.
Soak the bread crumbs in milk and sherry or port. Combine the well-beaten eggs and sugar. Blend with the fruit mixture. Add salt and mix thoroughly. Put the pudding in buttered bowls or tins, filling them about 2/3 full. Cover with foil and tie it firmly. Steam for 6-7 hours. Uncover and place in a 250°F. oven for 30 minutes. Add a dash of cognac to each pudding, cover with foil and keep in a cool place.
To use, steam again for 2-3 hours and unmold. Sprinkle with sugar; add heated cognac. Ignite and bring to the table. 

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  1. Thanks for the recipes. They sound delicious!

  2. Looks good!! Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by!!
    Stay safe, healthy and happy!!


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