Did You Know?

Christma-Terials #5 – Fruitcake

The hard and hearty holiday treat!

by Alexander Quebec

History

Fruitcake, or rather an ancestor of what we know as fruitcake, began in the times of the Roman Empire. Pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and raisins were mixed in with barley mash. Fast forward to the middle ages, where Europeans add spices, honey and dried fruits to the mix. Ingredients, however, varied based on location, availability and what the Catholic church was cool and not cool with at the time. During the times of colonial America is when fruitcake really gained it’s popularity as candied fruit was plentiful around the colonies (due to the preservation properties of high levels of sugar on fruit)

Fruitcake in America

In spite of its place as a holiday staple, how did fruitcake become the butt of every Christmas joke? That distinction was earned on an episode on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson who remarked.

“The worst gift in the world is a fruitcake, there’s only one fruitcake in the entire world and people keep sending it to each other.”

Since then, many people make jokes and comments on fruitcakes hard to eat composition or inability to go bad (usually due to the high levels of alcoholic spirits soaked into the bread). In light of this however, Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana,Texas and The Claxton Bakery in Claxton, Georgia offer some of the most renowned fruitcakes available anywhere.

Make it yourself

If you want to try making this at home, give this recipe from allrecepies.com a try. If you’re the adventurous kind and want to try baking one without a recepie, one website makes the following suggestions: let the cake mellow out for four weeks before freezing, dredge the fruits and nuts in flour so that they don’t sink into the batter and make sure the cake is hot before brushing over with the liquor of your choice.

Did you learn anything new or interesting today? Was there something we missed? Let us know in the comments below.

This article originally published December 16th, 2016

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