MAKES 1 10-inch loaf pan
ADAPTED from Alton Brown’s Good Eats
INGREDIENTS: 4 cups of dried fruit (I used a mix of glace fruit, cranberries, cherries, raisins, and candied orange peel), 1/4 cup of candied ginger, 5 ounces unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks), 1 cup unfiltered apple juice, 4 whole cloves ground, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup toasted pecans, 1 cup of rum, 3/4 cup of sugar, 1 3/4 cups of flour, brandy for brushing
DIRECTIONS: Combine dried fruits, candied ginger and zests. Add rum and macerate overnight, or microwave for 5 minutes to re-hydrate fruit.
Place fruit and liquid in a non-reactive pot with the sugar, butter, apple juice and spices. Bring mixture to a boil stirring often, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for at least 15 minutes so the eggs don’t cook when you introduce them.
Heat oven to 325 degrees.
Combine dry ingredients and sift into fruit mixture. Quickly bring batter together with a large wooden spoon, then stir in eggs one at a time until completely integrated, then fold in nuts. Spoon into a 10-inch non-stick loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting toothpick into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, it’s done. If not, bake another 10 minutes, and check again.
Remove cake from oven and place on cooling rack or trivet. Baste or spritz top with brandy and allow to cool completely before turning out from pan.
When cake is completely cooled, soak a cheesecloth in brandy, wrap the cake, and wrap tightly in tin foil. Revisit every few days.
NOTES: I reduced the amount of sugar. Sugar has preservative properties but since I caved and ate the cake immediately, that wasn’t an issue. So alas, I can’t vouch if the cheesecloth method works. I also didn’t have ground ginger so I omitted it, reduced the baking time.
VERDICT: Sweet, but not overly sweet.