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Rutherford Weekly's Favorite Reader Recipes 12-08-16

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The Best Fruitcake Ever

½ cup dried apricots, chopped

½ cup dried cranberries

½ cup dried cherries

½ cup golden raisins

1 cup bourbon

½ cup pistachios, chopped

½ cup hazelnuts, chopped

½ cup pecans, chopped

½ cup sliced almonds

12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup light brown sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons orange zest

Pinch of cinnamon

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Turbinado sugar, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a loaf pan with nonstick spray. Prepare the fruit: In a medium-size heat-safe bowl, toss the apricots with the cranberries, cherries and raisins. In a small pot, bring the bourbon to a simmer. Pour it over the fruit and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain the fruit, reserving the bourbon. Transfer the fruit to another medium bowl and toss with the pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans and almonds. Set aside. Make the batter: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the side of the bowl well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract, orange zest and cinnamon. Add the flour and baking powder; mix just until combined. Bake the cake: Add the fruit-and-nut mixture to the batter and mix to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Garnish with a sprinkle of turbinado sugar, then bake until golden and cooked through, 2 to 2½ hours. While the cake is baking, bring the reserved bourbon to a simmer and reduce to about ¼ cup. Pour the reduced bourbon over the warm cake as soon as it comes out of the oven. Let the cake cool completely before slicing and serving. The uncut cake will keep for up to two weeks in an airtight container.

Old English Dark Fruit Cake

6 oz dried prunes, chopped

6 oz dates, chopped

8 oz dark raisins

6 oz golden raisins

6 oz currents

¾ cup butter

1 cup dark brown sugar

¾ cup molasses

½ cup coffee liqueur (or ½ cup strong black coffee)

Zest and juice of 2 oranges

8 oz glace cherries

8 oz candied citrus peel

8 oz toasted pecans, roughly chopped

2 tsp allspice

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp powdered ginger

1 tsp cloves

2 tsp nutmeg

3 tbsp cocoa

3 eggs

1⅓ cups all purpose flour

½ cup ground hazelnuts or almonds

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium heat and add the raisins, dates, prunes, currents, brown sugar, molasses, spices, coffee liqueur (or coffee) and the orange zest and juice. Bring to a gentle boil and very slowly simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 30-45 minutes. When cool stir in the beaten eggs. Sift together, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda. Add the ground nuts and fold through the boiled mixture. Fold in cherries, citrus peel and pecans. Pour into prepared baking pan. You can decorate the top with additional pecan halves, cherries etc., if you like. Bake at 300 degrees F for 1 ½ to 2 hours depending upon the size of your pan. Mine took the full two hours in a 10 inch spring form pan.The cake should feel firm to the touch at the center and a wooden toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean. The cake should be cooled completely in the pan on a wire rack before removing. At this point you can poke small holes in the top and bottom of the cake with a fork and pour on 4 ounces of dark rum or your favorite whiskey, half on the top, wait ten minutes, then flip it over and pour the remaining half on the bottom. Soak several layers of cheesecloth in additional rum if you like and wrap completely around the cake, then cover with several layers of plastic wrap and store in a COOL place. When serving, you can add a layer of marzipan or if you have decorated the top with fruit and nuts, brush with a simple glaze of equal parts water and sugar boiled together for about 10-15 minutes.

Fruit Cake

4 cups of flour, sifted

1 teaspoon of baking powder

4 teaspoons of nutmeg

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

1 cup of butter or margarine (softened)

2 cups of sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 Cup brown sugar

6 Whole Eggs

4 tablespoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup of bourbon (you may substitute water)

4 cups of pecans, coarsely chopped

1 pound of seeded Light Raisins

1/2 cup of candied Cherries; Green and red

Grease and flour two 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pans. Line the bottoms with waxed paper; grease and flour the paper. Set aside. Or you may use a well greased 10" tube pan. Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg together. In a separate large bowl, combine butter and sugar, cream until fluffy. Add brown sugar and mix well. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in vanilla extract. Add dry ingredients (from step 2) alternately with bourbon (or water). Stir in nuts, raisins and cherries. Turn mixture into well greased pan(s). Bake at 300 degrees F. for 2 hours or until toothpick or knife inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let stand in pan for 20 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on rack. Wrap in foil or put in an air tight container. Keeps well.

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