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December 5th, 2005

Holiday Time! What is your very favorite winter holiday food? Christmas? New Year's Eve or day? Share you recipe with us all!

Grandma's Fruitcake

Staffordshire style modified by my sister, Marilou Halpin
From William Lavris

Oh no! Not another fruit cake recipe!

My mother and sisters sent me "Care Packages" of fruit cakes for Christmas when I was away from home in the service and my buddies would make fun of them then gobble them up like they were their last meal before the firing squad. Uncle Sam saw fit to make little fruit cakes and "can them" as part of our rations. Almost everyone ate them but I'd trade them for cigarettes and my buddies used that as an indication that there was a new shipment of the good stuff from my family. Took me a while to figure out how they knew.

The recipe has changed a little over the years, my mother and sisters making their own improvements. The original, was probably from Staffordshire in the mid to late 1800s. I wonder if they make a similar cake there today.

Grandma's Fruitcake

    Dry ingredients: mix together

    5 cups sifted flour (set 1 cup aside)
    3 tsp cinnamon
    1 tsp nutmeg
    1 tsp ground cloves
    1 tsp ground allspice
    4 tsp baking soda
    1 1/2 tsp salt

    Fruit and nuts:

    1 box raisins
    8 oz dried currents
    1 lb walnuts
    1 lb pecans
    1 lb dates
    2 lb mixed candied fruit

    Wet ingredients:

    1 cup shortening
    2 cups dark brown sugar
    4 beaten eggs
    1 small can 15 -16 oz applesauce
    2/3 cup dark molasses
    1/3 cup lemon juice


Mix 1 cup flour with the fruit and nuts (from the flour set aside for this purpose) and have it ready.

Cream the shortening and add the brown sugar, eggs, applesauce, molasses and lemon juice.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet along with the fruit and nuts and mix well.

The baking can be done in disposable aluminum pans greased and lined with waxed paper and measuring about 3 3/4" X 6 1/4" X 2" deep but even angel food pans can be used. Fill pans about 3/4 full. Bake for 2 hours in a preheated 250 degree oven. ~ William Lavris

Finished product, from the FAOL test kitchen. And it was terrific right out of the oven.

Publisher's Note: My Brit neighbor tells me this should be made immediately so it has time to "marry/ripen." ~ DLB

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