Fruitcake is delicious!
Fruitcakes are one of the great cultural divides between Americans and those from Australia and New Zealand, like me. It’s as though we’re talking about two totally different food items. To Americans, fruitcakes seem to equal dry, boring and nasty. To us, a fruitcake is a moist, alcohol-laced delight, stuffed with top quality raisins, sultanas, cherries and peel. Bursting with flavour a potent symbol of Christmas. Recipes are handed down through generations – my own Christmas fruitcake recipe was my maternal Grandmother’s and heaven knows where she got it from.
Not that fruitcakes are a non-controversial subject here either, get a couple of Kiwis or Aussies together and the debate will ignite – raisins or sultans? Or both? Whiskey, rum, or brandy? Or all three? Are green cherries permitted, or an abomination? Soak the fruit overnight or boil it? Bake the cake in baking paper, brown paper or tinfoil?
There are as many recipes as there are cooks, but we agree on several fundamentals. They must have plenty of top quality dried fruit (Australia produces the best), they need to be ‘fed’ with the alcohol of your choice after baking. And that fruitcakes are a delicious and essential part of the Christmas holiday celebrations!