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Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2007 03:06 pm

Love potion

Make a fruitcake thatÂ’s actually good to eat

Untitled Document I suppose you’re thinking that with a name like Kitchen Witch I would have been busy boiling up something in my cauldron in honor of the recent All Hallows’ Eve. Unfortunately, this witch has been in no mood for tricks. Instead, with a much longer holiday season just weeks away, I’ve been hard at work on a potion of another kind. This year I skipped my beloved caramel apples and candy corn for a new project: the fruitcake. Go on, laugh all you like. I know I’m setting myself up for ridicule and mockery. How can “fruitcake” and “good” be used in the same sentence, you ask, chortling. I’m right there with you; I’ve never had a good fruitcake, either. I believe that the problem lies with the preponderance of candied fruit that, when combined with booze, takes on a sci-fi-worthy neon glow that scares the bejesus out of the toughest witch in town. So I’m taking the candied, glacéed fruit out of the picture (did you ever really like those green maraschino cherries to begin with?) and giving the fruitcake a second chance. With the holiday season nigh, now is the time to marinate the fruit, the first step to making a properly seasoned (read: boozy) fruitcake. With help from my friend LaurelAnn Morley, who runs a small beachside restaurant in Barbados, I now have a jar of fruit that’ll be bathing in booze for at least two more weeks, when I’ll make the cake, which needs a few weeks of alone time in a tin (with booze, of course) before its uncandied holiday debut. Part two of this witchy endeavor, which includes a recipe for the fruitcake batter, will be featured here soon.

Kim O’Donnel serves up 30 of her favorite recipes expressly for the upcoming holiday season in her new book, A Mighty Appetite for the Holidays: Kitchen Tricks for the Feasting Season. For online orders, go to
Fruitcake, PART One
Adapted from Caribbean Recipes Old & New, by LaurelAnn Morley
Fruit The following is enough fruit for a cake made in a deep 10-inch cake pan.
About 3 1/2 cups of dried fruit, including: 1 cup of raisins 1 cup of currants 1/2 cup of dried cherries (unless you insist on equal    
     amounts of the candied stuff) 1 cup of your dried fruit favorites — figs, golden  
     raisins (a.k.a. sultanas), apricots, prunes, and      cran berries are all tasty choices 1/2 cup of citrus peel from any combination of      oranges, grapefruits, and lemons About 4 cups of boozy spirits, a combination of any      of the following: amber rum, brandy, cognac,      grap pa, and fortified wine such as sweet sherry,      port, or Madeira
In a wide-mouthed jar with an airtight seal, combine all ingredients and stir. Allow the mixture to steep for a few days; you may notice that the fruit has absorbed much of the alcohol. Spoon the mixture into the bowl of a food processor and use the pulse function to chop the fruit so that it isn’t puréed. You want the fruit to be slightly chunky. Return the fruit and residual liquid to the airtight jar. Keep the jar in a cool, dark place, allowing the contents to steep for at least two weeks and as long as a month. Every few days, shake the jar or turn it upside down to move the fruit around.


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