It’s fruitcake season, and it’s about time we all participated, instead of making snide jokes about doorstops. And if I can’t convince you certainly Truman Capote can. In one of the loveliest essays ever written, A Christmas Memory, Capote recalls the seasonal rituals of his eccentric Cousin Sook, who would, every year make her fruitcakes for holiday delivery to her neighbors, always reserving one to send to President Franklin Roosevelt.
A bit of that essay is reproduced in Marie Rudisill’s book, another one of Tru’s cousins who has here assembled a selection of heirloom recipes for this much-maligned holiday treat.
And no matter what you think of fruitcake, there will be one here to tempt you–Chocolate, Civil War, Rainbow, Rum, and Flaming. Marshal your pecans, dried citron, coconut, candied orange peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice and review Rudisill’s tips, including using the traditionally southern White Lily Flour, which has less gluten than all-purpose flour, as well as the mysteries of dousing the cakes with liquor, storing, cutting, and serving.
Rudisill has convinced me that this is worth pursuing and besides, I like the idea of storing this old fashioned dessert and damn curious about what it will taste like. It’s fruitcake season because they should rest for months, absorbing the whisky and developing their flavor.
So, here’s my pecan fruitcake, (pages 52-53), a golden batter studded with fruit, then wrapped and ready to rest until Christmas. Tune in December (just in time for Cookie Swap) to see how it’s fared.