Tag Archives: fruit desserts

For The Love of Fruitcake!

For the Love of Fruitcake!

Let’s talk fruitcake, seriously?  If you are an American, you are probably rolling your eyes. If you are from nearly anywhere else in the world, your mouth may be watering from memories of this delicious holiday treat or dense and sweet wedding cake. Fruitcake is a very popular dessert throughout  across the globe, but here in the good old U S of A, the humble fruitcake gets a bit of a “bad Santa” rap.

Johnny Carson joked that there was only one single fruitcake in the whole entire world, and people just kept passing it around as a gift. In Manitou Springs, Colorado there is a yearly fruitcake toss for crying out loud. We’ve even been known to call dear aunt Betsy a “fruit cake” now and then. Well, I think it’s high time to restore the historic fruitcake’s reputation with my family recipe! This one I promise won’t be re-gifted or left for “ring-toss” because it’s just too good!

Enjoy and Happy Holidays! May your time with family and friends be blessed!

 

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Raw Apple Fruit Cake

Ingredients:

2 cups white sugar
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 ½ cup veg oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups coconut
1 cup chopped dates
1 cup chopped pecans
3 cup chopped apples
(granny smith or another cooking apple)
2 cup chopped orange slice candy

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.   Grease a Bundt cake pan or fruit cake pan and set aside.

In a mixing bowl with paddle attachment, cream together sugar and oil.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.  Combine flour, cinnamon, salt and soda in separate bowl.  Hand stir gradually to egg mixture.  It will be thick like cookie dough.  Stir in apples first, thin coconut, dates and nuts.  Add chopped candy last and fold in thoroughly.  Batter is extremely thick.  Pour into a greased and floured pan.

Bake for 1 ½ hours or until brown and knife inserted comes clean.

*Note: This can also be baked in small loaf pans for gifts.

Tip:
Use a floured sharp knife when cutting sticky orange slice candy.  Candy should be cut up to bite size pieces.  You can also decorate the top of the cake with candy cherries and make candy leafs.

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Perfect Pickins

Perfect Pickins

The month of May is perhaps the prettiest month in Kentucky with everything in bloom, gardens growing strong, and farmers markets in full swing. This month is also jam packed with events from Derby, to Mother’s Day, to Memorial Day weekend (and my birthday!) Of course the normal response would be what to wear, what shoes to buy, and where to go… however, I’m always left with the ultimate dilemma of what food to make. (And to think, I was surprised I chose to be a chef professionally)

This month’s recipe for a strawberry rhubarb crumble could be served at a number of events and I guarantee someone will come back for seconds or to scrape the bottom of the bowl. In the U.S. strawberries typically peak during April in Florida & Texas, in May and early June in the south, and late June farther North and in Canada. This year I am super excited to take my daughter strawberry picking. My husband and I talk about picking berries as children with our grandparents and it seems almost like a rite of passage we both want her to experience and remember. U-pick strawberries are actually much healthier than store-bought. Did you know a typical conventional strawberry can have up to 54 pesticides on it? Nine are known carcinogens and 19 of them are toxic to honey bees. Without bees we don’t have plants and without plants…ya know. (For more information on U pick farms in Kentucky visit http://www.kentuckyfarmsarefun.com)
This crumble features the classic combination of tart rhubarb and sweet strawberries, topped with a crunchy oat-and-macadamia nut streusel. A scoop of ice cream and a sprig of mint is the perfect finishing touch.

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Ingredients
• 3/4 cup all purpose flour ( for gluten free substitute with almond flour)
• 2/3 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar
• Large pinch of salt
• 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
• 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
• 1/2 cup macadamia nuts, toasted , coarsely chopped
• 1/2 TBSP vanilla bean paste (available at Wild Thyme)
• 1 pound strawberries, hulled, halved (about 4 cups)
• 12 ounces rhubarb (preferably bright red), ends trimmed, stalks cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
• Vanilla ice cream

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Preparation
Combine flour, 2/3 cup sugar, and salt in medium bowl; whisk to blend. Add butter. Rub in with fingertips until mixture sticks together in clumps. Mix in oats and nuts. DO AHEAD: Topping can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter 11 x 7 x 2- inch glass baking dish. Place 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; whisk to blend well. Add strawberries and rhubarb to sugar in bowl; toss to coat well. Scrape fruit filling into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle oat topping evenly over filling.
Bake crumble until filling bubbles thickly and topping is crisp, about 45 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes. Spoon warm crumble into bowls. Serve with ice cream.

Strawberry Picking Tips:
• One cup of strawberries contains only 43 calories.
• Unripe berries will not ripen once picked.
• Pick only the berries that are fully red. Part the leaves with your hands to look for hidden berries ready for harvest.
• To help the farmers, also remove from the plants berries showing rot, sunburn, insect injury or other defects and place them between the rows behind you. If they are left in the plants, the rot will quickly spread to other berries.
• U-pick strawberry farms typically sell berries by the pound. A quart equals 1 and 1/2 pounds of fresh berries.
• It takes about 10 to 15 minutes to pick a quart, if the berries are reasonably plentiful
• DON’T wash the berries until you are ready to use them. Washing makes them more prone to spoiling.
• Pour them out into shallow pans and remove any mushed, soft or rotting berries
• Put a couple of days supply into the fridge, wash and cut the caps (green tops) off the others and freeze them up!

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