by Lisa

I really want to make this, minus the candied mixed fruit. More dates, more cranberries, but I’m so sickly fascinated by the rainbow of former “fruit” that I can never seem to put it into the bread. I just put the jar back on the shelf. Once, an expensive jar was passed to me from my grandma, a relic, too expensive for her to want to use but too pretty in the bottle to throw out, the label too nicely decorated…but I finally had to throw it out, in case my curious, maraschino-cherry-loving Thundergirl might eat it and die of ptomaine poisoning.  That’s what Gram said would kill you if you at bad food, but I don’t know if it’s still called that.

Amaretto might be even better than red wine, too, especially for basting. We had a “family” bottle of that, too, but I went and drank it all, all three tablespoons left in the bottle, after Gram died.  My dad had given her the bottle, swiped no doubt from the bowling alley, and that one big swig proved that booze doesn’t go bad.

YULE! An excuse!

“Fruitcake of Erebor”

8 oz golden raisins
8 oz candied pineapple
1 lb candied mixed fruit — NO. Well, maybe. It’s so pretty. Is it food?
8 oz dried figs, quartered
8 oz dates, quartered
6 oz dried cranberries
½ – 1 cup red wine

Combine fruits and wine and soak overnight.

8 oz butter
8 oz brown sugar
½ cup molasses
4 – 5 large eggs
1½ + ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
¼ + ⅛ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp cinnamon — I would add more
1⅛ tsp nutmeg — more
¾ tsp ground cloves — a little more. Don’t want to numb our tongues
4 oz blanched almonds
8 oz lb pecans
4 oz walnuts

1 cup red wine (optional)

Preheat oven to 300.
Cream butter, sugar and molasses. Beat in eggs. Gradually add flour, soda and spices.
Add the batter and nuts to fruit mixture and stir well.
Grease 8” foil loaf pans (4 – 6) with vegetable shortening. Fill each pan @ 2/3 full. Bake for 1¾ – 2¼ hours until done.

Pour about 1/4 cup of wine over each loaf when taken out of the oven. Remove cakes from pan immediately and set on wire rack to cool.

Wrap each loaf in plastic wrap (or cheesecloth), then with aluminum foil and store in refrigerator. May be basted with additional wine weekly, if desired.



Now, back to sleeping off a bug, definitely not ptomaine poisoning.  I blame finals stress for letting a chink form in my immunity armor, and that crack let in something that was very happy to take over my digestive system for the last 24 hours.  I’ve had tea and toast and two boiled eggs and a little more ice cream than might have been good for me, just now, because things seem to be cranking into reverse again. Maybe if I hold very, very still, it’ll be okay.

I’m over being dismayed by being robbed of a day and a night.  It won, the bug.  I got sick.  But now, I’ve had an hour of daydreams about fruitcake and I can hear a guitar being played downstairs.  Earlier, I heard real singing, the way we sing when we think no one can hear or we know we sound good.

He sounded very good and happy, and I’m happy for that.

When I feel better, I’ll tell you about an alternate universe I visited while I slept.  The daughter was a champion moped racer in a culture that valued mopeds and bigotry, but we took care of the bigotry part, so all that was left was fertile farmland and love and a really confusing kind of ice cream.  My life work was to train moped racers how to disassemble and reassemble their bikes like rifles are handled in the military.  That was part of racing, breaking down your bike and putting it back together in the middle of nowhere.

High fever, anyone?