These are difficult economic times without any sight of change in the foreseeable future. We will return to pleasures in our lives that are unconnected to money. While our holidays will still be filled with gift giving, many of the gifts will come from the kitchen instead of the shopping mall. Giving a gift from the kitchen during the holidays is thoughtful and personal. It is a gift that truly is from you. One of my recipes that my family and friends look forward to receiving is my Pineapple Fruitcake. No one throws this fruitcake away!
Fruitcakes date back to Roman times when pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and barley mush were mixed together to form a ring-shaped dessert. Roman soldiers packed fruitcake with them on their long marches because of the fruitcake’s long shelf life. During the Middle Ages, cooks added honey, spices, and dried fruits to fruitcakes. Crusaders, like the early Roman soldiers, carried the fruitcake with them to sustain themselves for long periods on their marches to the Holy Land. An interesting historical twist to the lore of the fruitcake occurred in the early 18th Century when a few European countries outlawed the fruitcake because they were considered “sinfully rich.”
As a special touch to the Pineapple Fruitcake, jot a note that tells some of the history of the fruitcake and attach it to the gift.
2 and 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 and 1/2 cup candied pineapple chunks
1/2 cup candied cherries
1 and 1/2 cup walnut pieces
Sift flour, salt, and baking powder. Cream butter and sugars together. Beat in eggs. Stir in flour mixture. Stir in orange juice. Mix well. Fold in fruits and nuts. Pour into well-greased and floured 9-inch tube pan.* Bake at 300 degrees about two hours or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Cool in pan.
* To stretch gift giving, divide batter into two small bread pans. Adjust cooking time. Check with toothpick after forty-five minutes, then fifteen-minute intervals.