Sunday, December 23, 2012

Recipes: Fruitcake, Larkin 1870

Although they've been out of fashion for years, fruitcakes were once considered a sinful treat, especially for those who lived in climates where fruit was hard to come by in the winter. During the reign of Queen Victoria, they were de rigeur in the finest drawing rooms at teatime, and the tradition extended to America as well. In Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory" (one of my favorite of his short stories), he recounts with sweet childhood innocence the tradition of making fruitcakes with his simpatico great aunt and how they saved up their pennies all year to be able to buy the precious ingredients that would go into the fruitcake.

Here then is a recipe for fruitcake from Genevieve's recipe box, attributed to "Larkin, 1870."

Fruitcake, Larkin 1870

2 1/2 C. apple sauce
4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 C. butter
4 C. flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 lb. mixed fruit
1/4 lb. candied cherries
1 lb. raisins
1 C. nuts
1 lb. dates, cut up
1/2 lb. dried apricots
1 small package of figs
Candied pineapple

Heat apple sauce and then add baking soda, sugar and shortening. Then add flour, salt and spices.

Put fruit in large pan and add 1 C. of flour; mix well. Add to cake mixture a little at a time; mix well. Fill greased, lined pans 1/2 full of mixture and decorate tops with nuts, cherries and candied pineapple. Bake at 300F about 1-1/2 hours or until done.

And while we're on the subject of fruitcake, it just isn't Christmas until I've heard this song:

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