Showing posts with label dried fruit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dried fruit. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Aussie Boiled Fruitcake #FoodieExtravaganza

Since the dried fruit and candied peel are first boiled with sugar, water and butter, they turn plump and juicy, filling the cake batter with tender bits of fruit. This makes for such a moist fruitcake that even non-lovers would like a slice.

Happy Christmas month! We are finally into December and while I’d like to say, “Let the holiday baking begin!” I know for many of you it started ages ago. Meanwhile, my Foodie Extravaganza group is getting their fruitcake on. Growing up, the only fruitcake I would eat was my grandmother’s because it wasn’t dry and hard as so many are. Nowadays I am a little more flexible but since the dry cakes still aren’t a favorite, I was intrigued by recipes that kept popping up on the Australian websites. Called variously boiled fruitcake, Australian fruit cake or quick-mix fruitcake, the fruit mix is first boiled with sugar, water and butter then set aside to cool, allowing time for the dried fruit to be rehydrated in a most delicious manner.

I think you’ll find that this version isn’t dry at all and may even win over some fruitcake naysayers.

2 1/2 cups or 375g mixed dried fruit
1/2 cup, firmly packed or 100g soft brown sugar
1/2 cup or 100g sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup or 240ml water
3 1/2 tablespoons or 50g butter, plus extra for buttering the pan
3 tablespoons brandy
3 tablespoons golden syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups or 280g flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons honey
To decorate:
1/2 cup or 80g whole blanched almonds
1 candied cherry - optional

Note: The Australian tablespoon is four teaspoons to the US tablespoon’s three. Amounts given here have been converted from the original recipes to match the US standard, where appropriate. Also, the Australian cup is 250ml to the US cup’s 240ml. This has likewise been converted when necessary or the recipe has been adapted to compensate.

Place mixed dried fruit, soft brown sugar, sugar, water, butter and salt in a pot.

Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the brandy. Set aside to cool. This can even be done a day ahead.

The fruit will plump right up as it cools.

When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C. Grease a 9in or 23cm springform pan with the softened butter and line the base and sides with parchment baking paper.

First cover the buttered bottom with a circle of parchment and cut a long strip for the sides.

Use the long strip to cover the buttered sides from top to bottom.

To the cooled fruit mixture, add the golden syrup and vanilla extract and give it a good stir.

Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda straight into the fruit mixture.

Stir again until well combined.

Spoon the mixture into your prepared springform pan and decorate the top with the blanched almonds and the cherry.

Bake in your preheated oven for 55 minutes or until the top is dark golden and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake. Cover the top with foil if it’s browning too fast before the cake is baked through.

Remove the fruitcake from the oven and brush it with the honey while hot.

Wrap the pan in 2 clean tea towels and set aside until cool. Remove the cake from the pan. Store in an airtight container. You don’t want it drying out at this point!


Many thanks to our host this month, Laura from Baking in Pyjamas, who says that fruit cake, soaked in brandy, is an absolute must for Christmas to be Christmas. From the looks of our link list this month, the rest of the Foodie Extravaganza group agree!

Foodie Extravaganza celebrates obscure food holidays or shares recipes with the same ingredient or theme every month.

Posting day is always the first Wednesday of each month. If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook page Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you!

If you're a reader looking for delicious recipes, check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board! Looking for our previous parties? Check them out here.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Christmas Pudding Cookies #CookieWeek #Giveaway

These little rounded cookies have the rich taste of Christmas pudding – dried fruit, dates, orange peel, spices - in bite-sized portions, complete with brandy butter to serve.

It’s Day Four of Cookie Week and I’m finally getting around to my second cookie! It’s been a busy week. But if this year’s Cookie Week is anything like last year’s Cookie Week, I know folks are going to be using our Pinterest board for holiday baking inspiration in weeks to come, so I wanted to share something a little different, with a British twist.

This recipe comes from a Jamie Oliver Christmas magazine a couple of years ago, December 2012, in fact. But, of course, he called them Christmas Pudding Biscuits. I think the only thing I’ve changed, besides the name, is to put just a little bit less flour so that the round cookie I like to bake is less dry. Jamie rolls them out and bakes them flat, like sugar cookies, but my cookie scoop makes the most perfect little Christmas pudding-shaped cookies and when that idea originally popped into my head, I couldn’t resist.

Make sure you scroll on down to see the other cookies we’ve baked for you today and, if you haven’t already, do enter the drawing for all the great baking ingredients, equipment and cookbooks generously donated by our fabulous sponsors: Imperial SugarCirculonPeanut Butter & Co. and Page Street Publishing.

For the cookie dough:
2 2/3 oz or 75g toasted flaked almonds
5 1/3 oz or 150g medool dates, pitted
3 oz or 85g dried mixed fruit
Grated zest 1 orange
1/3 cup + 1 rounded tablespoon or 85g caster sugar
1/3 cup or 85g butter, softened
1 egg
1 1/3 cups or 165g flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice

For the brandy butter:
1/4 cup or 50g butter, softened
1 cup or 125g icing or powdered sugar
Pinch salt
1-2 teaspoons brandy

Put the toasted almonds in your food processor and process briefly to chop them up.

Add in the dates, mixed fruit and orange zest and pulse until finely chopped. This could make your food processor jump around quite a bit so make sure to hold it down while pulsing.  Set aside.

There are still going to be some small chunks and medium-sized chunks.

Combine your flour, baking powder, cinnamon and mixed spice in a bowl.

In another larger bowl, cream together your butter and sugar. Add the egg to the butter and sugar and beat well until combined.

Stir in the flour mixture, mixing well.

Now fold in the almond/fruit mixture from the food processor. It looks like it’s going to be dry and bits keep falling out but persevere. Soon it will come together into a nice thick dough.

At this point you can wrap the dough in cling film, chill it for 20 minutes and then roll it out and cut it as you would sugar cookies or  - my idea - you can scoop it into little balls with a cookie scoop.  They look like little Christmas puds!

Either way, preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare a baking pan by lining it with parchment or a silicone baking mat.

I scooped mine into little balls and baked for about 14-16 minutes, until they were golden on the outside and a little darker on the bottom.

While they bake, you can make your brandy butter.
Use a wooden spoon to beat the softened butter together with the powdered sugar and a pinch of salt.

Once it’s light and fluffy, add in the brandy one teaspoon at a time, beating well in between.

The brandy transforms the butter and sugar into something even more fluffy and light and wonderful. If you aren't using it right away, it will stiffen back up in the refrigerator and you may need to let it warm up a little before it will spread.

Once the cookies are baked, allow them to cool completely before you top them with a swipe of brandy butter.


I cannot tell you how perfectly these go with a cup of tea!

Many thanks to our Cookie Week hosts Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Susan of The Girl In the Little Red Kitchen! We’ve got a great team of 12 bloggers bringing you five fantastic days of cookie recipes to get you in to the holiday spirit. Are you feeling like a cookie monster yet? If not, you should be – because resisting all these delicious cookies is nearly impossible!

Grab a warm cookie from our Cookie Week bloggers!

And here's what you might have missed from Tuesday and Wednesday while I was shaking cocktails and stirring noodles!

How about some hot baking PRIZES?! One winner takes all! 

    How to enter
    Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment telling us what your favorite cookie is to bake during the holidays. Additional ways to enter will be then be revealed in the Rafflecopter widget.

    1 (one) lucky person will win ALL the prizes listed above. The winner will be randomly chosen through Rafflecopter. This giveaway is open from Monday, November 3rd, 2014 to Monday, November 11th 11:59 EST to US residents only. The winner will be contacted via email and will have 48 hours to respond, at which time a new winner will be drawn. Good luck!

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