Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Counting The Days

fruitcake

December has a bad habit of going by at lightning speed. It’s very sneaky that way. Since the department stores have had their decorations up since some time in October, you may have been lulled into a false sense of security, thinking you still have plenty of time for planning and shopping and cooking, but the next thing you know, you’re counting the days til New Years. If Christmas snuck up on you this year like it did for me, here’s a great recipe for you that is not only quick to make as far as hands-on preparation is concerned, but so very easy, and absolutely delicious.

I was never a big fan of the typical Christmas fruitcake, usually way too rich and boozy for my taste. This year I wanted to make one of my own, but when time ran short, this recipe was an absolute lifesaver. It’s the best fruitcake I’ve ever eaten – moist and studded with a variety of different dried fruit soaked in your choice of whisky or brandy. I’m a whisky girl, personally. Baked in a cupcake tin, the cooking time is much less than a whole cake, and the small size is the perfect portion after a big lunch. I like mine warm and served with custard, but you could also serve them with ice cream or even icing.

For me this year, Christmas will be a much quieter one than usual since most of my extended family is travelling interstate over the holidays. I’m looking forward to more relaxed holiday season for a change! I would like to wish all of my readers a Merry Christmas! I hope yours is filled with great food and great company, and that everyone who is travelling stays safe xox

Little Figgy Christmas Cakes
Makes 12 small cakes
Recipe adapted from Donna Hay magazine

• 1 cup sultanas
• ½ cup currants
• ½ cup pitted dates, chopped
• ½ cup dried figs, chopped
• 1 teaspoon mixed spice
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 2/3 cup whisky or brandy
• 125g butter, softened and chopped
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1 ¼ cups plain flour
• ¼ teaspoon baking soda
• ¼ cup hazelnut meal

1. Place sultanas, currants, dates, figs, mixed spice, vanilla and whisky in a bowl. Mix well, cover and soak for 6-8 hours or overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 150ºC (300ºF). Place butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 8-10 minutes or until light and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition.
3. Sift the flour, baking soda and hazelnut meal over the fruit mixture and mix well ensuring all the fruit is coated in flour. Add the butter mixture and stir to combine well.
4. Spoon into 6 x 1 cup capacity lightly greased muffin tins. Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Allow them to cool in the tins for 10 minutes. Turn out and cool on a wire rack.

10 comments:

Christie @ fig & cherry said...

I love the ratio of custard to cake! Mmmm, custard ;)

Have a lovely break!

Manggy said...

Merry Christmas to you too Lisa! I'd have no problem getting festive if I had that beside me, or better yet in my mouth :) I've never seen fruitcake(y) served with custard... It looks deelish.
(ooh that reminds me, I have to email you :)

tummyrumble.net said...

oooh that looks so good! Might have to give that recipe a try!

Annie said...

That looks lovely! And only has to soak overnight? Good for people like me who are bad at planning ahead!

Arwen from Hoglet K said...

Cute cakes! Merry Christmas!

Y said...

In case I haven't already said so, Merry Christmas and a Happy New year to you!

Megan said...

These are too cute! And they look delicious! Merry Christmas!

Lisa said...

Chritie, after I posted this I found the time to make some home made custard and oh my gosh! what a difference it makes!

Mark, I guess it was a little sacrilegious for me not to like fruitcake(y) before! But this one is delicious :)

Tummyrumble, please do! It got rave reviews at Christmas dinner.

Annie, I'm bad at planning ahead too, don't worry. Its nice to know that you can still come up with something delicious at the last minute!

Arwen, thank you! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas too :)

Y, thanks! Merry Christmas to you also!

Megan, they certainly were delicious. All gone now, but I can't wait to make them again next Christmas :) Merry Christmas!

Dawn said...

Lisa! I haven't been by in what seems like ages. But it looks like you're having a good summer. I wish we had our summer heat back as this winter is just so cold for me.
I'm not a big fan of fruit cake, but this looks too good to not try. Did you put a plain custard on the top? That is the perfect accompaniment.

Lorraine E said...

That first photos is pure food porn! :P I love the cloaking of the custard, an essential for fruit cake. Hope you had a fantastic Christmas Lisa! :

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