Sunday, December 6, 2015

Our Fruitcake Tradition

One year when my husband was still teaching, someone at school decided to put together a little booklet of food traditions the teachers enjoyed at holiday time.

I kept a copy of the following that Papa Pea submitted.

* * * * * * * *

A holiday tradition in our home is my 
mother's-in-law fruitcake.  Shortly
after I got married, I discovered she
made a fruitcake that was nothing like
the too-sweet, candied fruit concoctions
I had known while growing up.

When we moved from Illinois to Minnesota,
it wasn't always possible for all of us to be 
together for the holidays.  But I can always
look forward to receiving a very heavy
package in the mail --- several loaves
of her fruitcake!

A couple of these loaves get tucked away
in the freezer to bring out for canoe, car or
backpack trips during the year.  (Once my
wife and I existed on hot tea and fruitcake
for three rain-soaked June days on a
canoe trip.)

Each year, we look forward to that fragrant
batch of fruit cake to continue a very special
holiday tradition.

* * * * * * * *

Here I'll add that my father was not happy that my mom baked these loaves of her fruitcake and paid a substantial amount (!) to mail them to us.  Each year he asked if I had the recipe (I did), and why didn't I bake our own holiday supply of it?

Of course, once Mom was no longer able to make the fruitcake, I did take over the tradition but, sad to say, mine has never tasted quite as good as the special ones we received from her.

I know I've posted the fruitcake recipe before, but for some reason my computer is currently refusing to retrieve and give forth recipes previously included in any blog posts.  So, once again, here it is.

Mom's Fruitcake

Mix together in a large saucepan and 
boil for 5 minutes:

1-3/4 cups honey (can use sugar)
1/4 cup molasses
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups hot water
1 cup butter
1 pound raisins
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cool above mixture on counter overnight.
Next day add:

1 egg
1 cup chopped nuts
3-1/2 cups flour (can be part whole wheat)
2 teaspoons baking soda
2-3 cups chopped dried fruit  (Mom liked
one cup of dates and the rest whatever
she had on hand such as dried apples,
apricots, peaches, cherries, figs, etc.)

Put mixture into three greased and floured 
loaf pans and bake at 300 degrees for one
hour and fifteen minutes or until toothpick
inserted in center comes out clean.
Remove from pans and cool on racks.  
Slices better after being wrapped and
 refrigerated over night.  Freezes well.
Makes three loaves.


DFW said...

I'm not a commercial fruitcake kind of gal & this one does sound good.

Pioneer Woman at Heart said...

A recipe I need to try. Thank you for the lovely story, and the recipe both.

Mama Pea said...

DFW - I've never tasted a commercial fruitcake I liked. Must be all the preservatives them put in them so they can be shipped all over the country. My aunt used to make a white fruitcake that was tasty . . . but I don't have her recipe. :o(

Mama Pea said...

You're so welcome, Kristina!

Mama Pea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sparkless said...

My mom and mother-in-law both bake fruitcake for Christmas. My husband loves it and I can take it or leave it. I've baked it a few times myself but may have to try your recipe this year.

Mama Pea said...

Michelle - Hope it works out for you. At our house, one slice makes a great snack during the holiday season when meals don't always appear on time!

Mama Pea said...

Sparkless - TWO fruitcake bakers in the family! Seems to me not a lot of people bake fruitcake anymore. I almost hate to call mine fruitcake because it's so different from what most people think of as fruitcake. Got another good name? :o}

Content in a Cottage said...

Sounds like a great recipe without that awful commercial candied fruit. Thank you. I adore fruitcake and it was always a tradition in my home. Loved your stories too.
xo, Rosemary

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

Your page kept popping over to an ad and then saying it would be back in 10 seconds and then not return and I had to try five times to get past the ad and get to the comment section. Love the fruitcake story - hate the ads.

Mama Pea said...

Thanks, Rosemary. Fruitcake (regardless of what kind you like) is truly associated with the holiday season!

Mama Pea said...

JoAnn - Isn't that as annoying as all heck?? It's nothing I've put on my blog site. I've had the same thing happen to me on a couple of other sites. I'm thinking it must be a Blogger thing . . . that needs to be corrected!

Glad you like the fruitcake story.

Joy said...

Looks wonderful! Do you use 8 inch or 9 inch bread pans?

Mama Pea said...

Joy - My favorite Pyrex glass loaf pans are 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2-1/2". But I have three other stainless steel loaf pans that I've used that are 8-1/2 x 5 x 2-3/4". The slightly bigger pan works just fine, but your loaf won't be as high.

Sandy Livesay said...

Mama Pea,

I'm back for just a couple of days, trying to get to everyone's blog to read and post. Fruit cake is something I also always look forward too. Each year I would order it from this German restaurant. The cake was individually wrapped and all place in a beautiful tin can. This year the German restaurant stopped bringing in the cakes from Germany :-(
I'm going to have to give your Mom's recipe a try, it sounds divine :-)
Hope you had a wonderful weekend!!!

Mama Pea said...

Sandy - Oh, sorry to hear your favorite fruitcake is no longer available. I'm sure that was a nice part of your holiday tradition.

Sounds like you're still not able to get back into your regular (more restful?) routine. It may be you'll have to wait until after the holidays now! Take care.