Apricot, Fig and Spice Christmas Cake is a delicious fruitcake made with dried fruits and spices. Each bite is a comforting taste of the season. Making your own candied fruit from dried is an economical and delicious way of creating an astounding fruitcake such as this. Simply one of the best!
- 2 Cups dried apricots; chopped
- 2 Cups dried white figs; chopped
- 3/4 Cup chopped glace or crystallized ginger
- 1 1/2 Cups sultanas
- 3/4 Cup chopped glace orange peel
- 3/4 Cup Cointreau
- 1/4 Cup water
- 1 Cup brown sugar
- 250 g unsalted butter
- 5 eggs
- 1 Tablespoon golden syrup
- 1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 1 3/4 Cups flour
- 1/3 Cup self-raising flour
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon bi-carbonate of soda
- 1/2 Cup whole blanched almonds
- Place fruit, liqueur, water, sugar and butter into a large saucepan. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat, simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Set aside and cool. This mixture should be left for at least 3 days and can be left for up to 2 weeks. Make sure the lid is well secured to prevent the liquid evaporating.
- Line a 9 inch cake tin with a double layer of Glad Bake or waxed paper.
- Pre-heat oven to 260 deg. F.
- Break eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat lightly with the syrup and lemon zest until combined.
- Sift flours, spices and bi-carbonate of soda. Add this mixture to the eggs with the fruit and stir well. Spoon into prepared tin and smooth the surface. Cover the top with almonds or a combination of glace fruit and nuts (shown here).
- Bake in oven for approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the cake is cooked when tested with a wooden skewer. Remove from oven and immediately brush with 1 tablespoon of liqueur.
- Follow instructions from the Fruit Cake Notes.
1. Choose good quality dried fruit and nuts - check that nuts are fresh without the taint of rancidity. For a fine texture in the cake, cut all fruit to the size of a sultana. Any combination of fruit can be used - it must be equal weight to that used in the recipe. Make sure the flavors are complimentary. Soak fruit, if necessary, at least overnight. Cover fruit while soaking to prevent evaporation of liquid.
2. Lining the tin - use brown paper, greaseproof paper or Glad Bake. It is best to use 2 layers.
3. Butter - use unsalted butter.
4. Eggs - large hen's eggs or duck's eggs can be used. 60g. hen's eggs are used in these recipes, so if using duck's eggs, weigh them in their shell for the equivalent weight to hen's eggs.
5. Sugar - when white sugar is required, use caster sugar. For a darker color, use brown or black sugar, golden syrup or treacle. Artificial dark color can be added with Parisian essence but it has no flavor.
6. Alcohol - Medium sherry, dark rum, whisky, brandy or orange-flavored liqueur (Cointreau or Grand Marnier) are the usual flavors for fruit cakes. Brush 1-2 tablespoons over the cake immediately it is removed from the oven. Then cover the cake firmly with a double layer of aluminum foil while the cake is still hot and leave aside until completely cold.
7. Tapping - After putting mixture in the tin and smoothing the surface, drop the tin 3 times to remove air bubbles.
8. Cooking - Times are difficult to estimate because we all use different ovens. If the cake is becoming too dark, lower the temperature and cover with some brown paper. If using a convection oven, use low fan speed or no fan. Fruit cakes are best cooked slowly on low temperature.
9. Storage - When the cake is completely cold, remove from the tin but leave the Glad Bake intact and wrap in a double layer of plastic wrap. Do not leave foil in contact with the cake as the alcohol will pit the foil. Then wrap the cake in an old clean towel and store in a cool, dark, dry place in the pantry. Once the cake has been cut, store in a well-sealed container. Do not store in the refrigerator - this may cause the sugars to crystallize.
Serve a thin slice of this rich, high-calorie cake with a dollop of whipped cream or as an accompaniment to fruit.
Food Exchanges: 11 1/2 Grain (Starch); 4 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 10 1/2 Fruit; 43 Fat; 9 1/2 Other Carbohydrates
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