Let’s face it. Fruitcake is a Christmas tradition but it certainly isn’t for everyone. My husband LOVES the stuff. Years ago our neighbors were Hugh and Tilly Green. though they were retired owners of Ben Franklin, involved in numerous service organizations. Tilly would sometimes call Rick to change the basement lightbulb, or other various chores. Tilly always gave him a fruitcake from the Trappist Abbey Monks as a ‘thank you’. They were such kind people we would have done anything to help out BUT she had Rick at “do you like fruitcake?” :)
Since I like to give you a story with a recipe (and since you may despise fruitcake)…. Hugh would do the grocery shopping, maybe because he was super social and could visit at the market, it was a pleasure to stop and chat. One day I was at their house when Hugh came home from my store and Tilly said “Hughie, where is the romaine lettuce?” He looked at her straight faced and said “they don’t make it anymore.” She laughed and said “you know that’s not true.” He assured her it was and that he had even asked. Funny, adorable and always looking out for each other, that’s how they were, and I’m grateful to have known them.
Tilly was the first thing I thought of when my friend Laurie Pass asked if I wanted to make fruitcake with her. Cooking is just more fun with a friend soooo.. YEAH. Laurie makes the bomb fruitcake so I was surprised when she showed up with the same cookbook I’ve been using for decades. That being said, just like the rest of us, she adds a few tweaks~
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp each, nutmeg, allspice and cloves
16 oz mixed candied fruit
15 oz pkg golden raisins
8 oz pitted chopped dates
8 oz red candied cherries (or green)
1 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup chopped candied pineapple
1 3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup orange juice
3/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup apple juice to soak cheesecloth in.
Stir together dry ingredients. Add fruits and nuts. Mix well.
Beat eggs until foamy, add brown sugar, orange juice, butter and molasses. Beat till well combined. Stir into fruit mixture. Fill 2 greased large loaf pans 3/4 full ( you may have a little left over for a little bitty pan).
Bake in 300* oven for 2 hours. After 1 hour cover pans loosely with foil. Little bitty pan will be done after one hour.
Wrap cooled loaves in apple juice soaked cheesecloth then overwrap that with foil. Store in the refrigerator. Remoisten cheesecloth weekly and they will last for like ever :) Unless Rick is around.
I’m sorry to say I couldn’t find any pictures of my friend and neighbor Tilly but thanks to Cindie Tamietti at Lassen County Times I have a couple of photos from January 2000 of Rotarians at a Paul Harris dinner including Judge Bradbury, Sheriff Jarrell, Tom Smith and Hugh Green.
Good people, good food, that’s what Hometown Holidays are all about.
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