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Fruitcake: Friend or Foe?

by Ranee Mueller

Apple-Calvados Fruitcake

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For gift giving, it is feasible to use the mini-loaf pans for either of these. Use the same baking times, checking at the earliest time and expect about 4 to 6 mini-loaves from each recipe. Apple-Calvados Fruitcake is a dense, moist fruitcake that is beautiful even straight out of the pan .

2 cups dried apples, finely chopped
1-1/2 cups dried apricots
1-1/2 cups pitted dates, cut in half
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup Calvados or Apple Jack (or all apple juice)
1 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
6 eggs, at room temperature
3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
One 15 ounce jar applesauce
1-1/2 cups (about 6 ounce) chopped walnuts
1/3 cup Calvados or Apple Jack (for soaking)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease a 10-inch tube pan or bundt pan or two 8 x 4 x 2-inch loaf pans. Mix the fruit, apple juice and Calvados in a medium bowl; let stand for 1 hour.

Cream the sugar and butter in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until light and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice in a medium bowl. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and applesauce beginning and ending with the flour mixture, blending until incorporated. Stir in the fruit and nuts.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 2 hours or until a cake tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool 30 minutes. Go around the sides with a knife and invert onto a cooling rack. Turn right side up and cool completely.

Soak a large piece of cheese cloth in Calvados. Wrap the cake in the cloth and then in foil. Store in the refrigerator and remoisten the cloth with Calvados every couple of weeks or as necessary.

Makes: one large round or two 8 x 4-inch cakes.

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