Log Cabin Chronicles

greg duncan

© 1998 John Mahoney

The Gallivanting Gourmand

Sweet & Spicy Fruitcake


The Internet does have its uses after all. It seems that at the very least, one of the information highway's main purposes is for the transmission of jokes and other bits of trivia. Once an interesting item is posted on the Web, its reach is far. For the millions of office workers who have the Net at work, a good joke arriving by e-mail can brighten up a day. That's what I call networking.

This offering came across cyberland and landed firmly at the Journal's door (or portal as it is known to Web nerds). It got our attention and apparently, someone's at the national daily newspaper, The Globe and Mail, as well. They reprinted a portion of what was described as Martha Stewart's holiday calendar. Here are a few of the food-related projects that according to an anonymous author, Martha will be doing in December.

Dec. 13: Collect dentures, they make excellent pastry cutters, particularly for decorative pie crusts.

Dec. 14: Install plumbing in gingerbread house.

Dec. 19: Adjust legs of chairs so each Christmas dinner guest will be same height when sitting at his or her assigned seat.

Dec. 20: Dip sheep and cows in egg whites and roll in confectionery sugar to add a festive sparkle to the pasture.

Dec. 21: Drain city reservoir; refill with malted cider, orange slices and cinnamon sticks.

Dec. 26: Organize spice racks by genus and phylum.

So, there you have some colorful Christmas ideas, courtesy of the Web.

Now on to more serious matters, although the following recipe is also a little nutty, if not fruity. Give this as a holiday gift to spice things up.

Sweet and Spicy Fruitcake

3 cups chopped walnuts
2 cups chopped dried figs
1 cup chopped dried apricots
1 cup chocolate chips
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/3 cup fruit jelly (apple is good)
2 tbsp grated orange peel
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tsp hot pepper sauce
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease two 3-cup ovenproof bowls. Line bottoms and sides with foil; grease foil.

In a large bowl, combine walnuts, figs, apricots, chocolate chips, and 1/4 cup flour and mix well.

In a small bowl, mix at low speed sugar, eggs and butter until well blended. Add remaining ingredients, including flour. Beat until blended. Toss mixture with dried fruits and nuts in large bowl. Spoon into prepared bowls and cover with greased foil.

Bake 40 minutes; uncover and bake another 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Remove to wire racks and cool.

Brush cooled fruit cakes with melted fruit jelly and sprinkle each cake with finely chopped dried apricots. Store in cool place for up to three weeks.

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Copyright © 1998 Greg Duncan/Log Cabin Chronicles/12.98