Wednesday, December 26, 2012

White Amaretto Fruitcake

Merry Christmas and Happy Boxing Day!  We wish you all Joy, Peace and Happiness!  We are truly blessed with wonderful friends and family from all over the world.  

Every family celebrates this holiday season differently with their own set of festive traditions.  One Christmas tradition I started several years ago was to make a white Christmas fruitcake flavoured with Amaretto (a sweet, almond-flavoured Italian liqueur) and brandy.   Fruitcake is not for everyone.  I know that store bought dark fruitcake is not for me.  When I tried the home made stuff for the first time, I was hooked!  Almost 15 years later, I finally took the plunge and made it myself.  The children LOVE this!  Although there is alcohol, it is cooked off and I serve the fruitcake in small, thin slices.    

I know my children will continue this tradition.  They are the reason why I blog.  I write all my recipes here so that one day when they are older, they can have access to all our family favourite recipes.  This is also a great way to sharing my recipes with friends and family.  

There are many fruitcake recipes out there, but this will always be their "Mom's".  I know how difficult it is to locate lost recipes, so I am making it easier for them to find. 

This recipe uses a few measurements in ounces.  I tried to convert the measurements to cups but found it easier to use a digital kitchen scale.  If you like to bake and cook, I highly suggest a food scale if you do not have one.  It takes the guesswork out of recipes that have ingredients measured by weight instead of volume.   

I think the key ingredients are brandy and Amaretto.

I used my digital kitchen scale to measure the fruit easily.  I dumped the fruit mix according to the scale.  Then I reset the scale to zero with the contents and added the cherries to the amount of weight needed.  

Marinate the fruit with brandy and Amaretto overnight.

Grease the pans and line with parchment paper.  I used a mini loaf pan and 1- 7" x 3" pan. 

Coat the fruit with 1/2 cup flour and toss in the whole blanched almonds.

Start the batter by creaming the butter and margarine with sugar.

Add the dry and wet ingredients alternately to make a thick batter.  

Stir in the fruit and nut mixture.  With all the fruit, nuts and batter, this mixture can be stiff and hard to mix together.  A stand mixer is highly recommended.

Place the filled pans in the oven along with a pan of water underneath.  I baked the smaller loaves for about 1 hour and the larger loaf for about 2 hours, until the top was golden brown and toothpick came out clean.

The mini loaves turned out so cute and perfect for gift giving! 

White Amaretto Fruitcake

1 1/2 cups golden raisins
12 oz deluxe holiday fruit mix*
8 oz candied red cherries
4 oz candied green cherries
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup Amaretto 

1/2  cup all purpose flour
4 oz whole blanched almonds
1/2 cup butter 

1/2 cup margarine or shortening (I used non-hydrogenated soft canola margarine)
1 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp almond extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup Amaretto
1/4 cup milk
2 oz ground almonds

DAY 1: Cut candied pineapple into 1/2" pieces.  Place pineapple, raisins, peel and whole cherries in a large bowl.  Pour 1/4 cup each of brandy and Amaretto over top. Mix throughly, cover and leave overnight.

DAY 2: Preheat oven to 275F. Grease a 6½ and a 5" round fruit cake pan, or any suitable baking pans that will hold at least 12 cups batter. Line the pans with parchment paper and grease the paper. Sprinkle ½ cup flour over the fruit mixture, and toss to coat fruit. Mix in whole nuts.

Place ½ cup each of butter & shortening in a large mixing bowl. Beat together until creamy. Gradually beat in the sugar, eggs, then the flavourings. Add 1 teaspoon almond extract. Add about ¾ cup of flour, beating just until mixed. Beat in the brandy & Amaretto. Add another ¾ cup of flour, beating just until mixed. Beat in the milk and remaining ¾ cup flour. Then stir in the almonds. Pour over the fruit and nut mixture and stir until combined.

Turn into the prepared cake pans and smooth the top. Place a pan containing water on the bottom rack of the oven. Bake cakes in the centre of preheated oven for 2 - 3 hours. Remove from oven, let cool in pans on a rack for 15 - 20 minutes. Then remove from the pans; peel off paper and cool completely. Wrap cakes well and let ripen for 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator or freeze.  

Makes 2 round cakes or 2-3 loaves.  (I made 8 mini-loaves and 1 medium loaf)

* you can also substitute the holiday fruit mix with 4 oz diced candied citron peel and 8 oz candied yellow pineapple

- Adapted from Dave's Garden Cookbook: Amaretto Fruitcake

I usually cut them into thin, bite sized slices.  Very festive with the vibrant colours, addictive texture and almond Amaretto flavour!  Perfect for holiday sharing. 

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