Thursday, December 6, 2007

fruitcake...a tradition!

At this time of the year, we are reminded of traditions that we grew up with. I have to think of all those Christmas sweets and treats that were so dear to my dad...things like halvah, rockavashakies...and Brazil nuts!

I notice halvah is still sold at the deli...I picked up a small piece for old times sake, and have no idea why anyone would find it appealing. It is a sweet and greasy confection made from sesame seeds, and somewhat gritty in texture. My parents purchased it in five pound tins...which had a picture of a camel on it, as I recall. The tins were used as baking pans once the halvah was gone. Now here's the scary thing...I still have (and use) one of those old halvah tins. It doesn't exactly look 'food safe' anymore, but is a one-of-a-kind, just-the-right-size pan that I can't part with!

Rockavashakies (I have no idea if that is what they were actually called) were a wrapped hard, red candy with a picture of a fish on the wrapper. Where they came from and why they were part of our every Christmas is beyond me, but they were a tradition. I was happy to leave halvah and rockavashakies behind...and for some reason fruitcake had never been baked in my childhood kitchen.

But once I was married, I discovered that fruitcake had to be part of the food of the season...or so my husband thought. Here's the recipe I have used all these years...

Jewelled Fruitcake
  • 2 1/2 cups whole candied cherries, red and green
  • 3 to 4 cups golden raisins
  • 2 cups candied pineapple (cut in large chunks)
  • 1 cup candied orange peel or citron
  • 2 cups flaked coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups whole blanched almonds
  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 9 eggs
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Measure all the fruits and nuts into very large mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. Cream butter, shortening and sugar.
  3. Add eggs and mix well.
  4. Add dry ingredients and orange juice.
  5. Beat on high speed for several minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally.
  6. Stir batter into fruit mixture and combine well.
  7. Spread mixture evenly into prepared well-greased pans.
  8. Bake at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for about 2 hours or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Remove from pans and cool.
Yield: 3 medium loaves

Now here's the part that makes this fruitcake so moist and yummy....wrap in brandy moistened cheesecloth. I wrapped the loaves in several layers of cheesecloth first and poured the brandy over. I used about 1 1/2 cups of apricot brandy for this recipe. Store the wrapped cakes in a cool place.

So if anyone wants to give home baked fruitcake a try, there's a relatively simple recipe.
I must run! I'm having a friend over for lattes, and what she doesn't know is that this barrista has never made a latte. It can't be that hard, can it?


  1. Your light Fruit Cake is the very best!! What a sweetheart to share it with all who read your blog. (maybe the world.) What a darling. Thanks so much. Martha.

  2. Wow that was like walking down memory lane...I too remember those candies, which were such a special treat and the halvah..I shudder at the taste of that one!
    That fruitcake is almost the same as mine...I love all the coconut in it.
    Thanks for that "memory trip" post!

  3. Judy, I also remember halvah and those candies and the cow candies too.
    We love fruit cake and my oven has been giving me some grief . .(waiting for a part) .
    I do think I'm going to give this one a whirl, it looks just fantastic. I'm going to write down the ingredients right now. Yummy.

  4. It's always fun to wander in and see what you're up to. I always learn something new...halvahs and what was that other candy with a fish? It really doesn't matter, it's all about the warm memories. Your fruitcake recipe looks as if it might even be palatable...all the more so with a cup and a half of brandy poured over it. LOL!

  5. Your recipe looks lovely. Never having made fruit cake myself but rather relying on the "grandmothers" who have kept me in supply of the Mennonite cookies and fruit cake, it seems I am on my own this turn to bake for them I guess! I do believe I will have to try this...thanks for the sharing!


  6. Judy, I just put it in the oven. . .oh it looks so good.

    I did something i never ever do. I licked the spoon.

  7. I juts looked at your fruitcake recipe amd it does look easy and delicious --I'll have to see if I can still find the candied cherries in the market --things disappear around here very fast.

    I love halvah! I have since childhood, especially the chocolate swirl and chocolate covered brands.:-)
    I never saw it sold in tins however.


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