Happy holidays folks! Here is a great recipe that can be baked inside your barbecue grill and is very appropriate given the time of year it is right now. Personally, I would bake this in my gas grill rather than using my charcoal smoker/grill. Although the smokiness might add another dimension to your fruitcake. In addition to a less smoky fruitcake, using the gas grill will help you manage your heat a lot easier. Of course you can simply use your oven but hey, this is a BBQ website right!
First off, I would recommend having a surface temperature gauge/thermometer so you can get the correct temperature at the grates. Another factor to consider before starting your Southern-Style Fruitcake is that it needs to rest overnight before you put it in your grill or oven.
- 1 cup diced candied orange peel
- 1 cup diced candied lemon peel
- 2 cups diced citron
- 1 cup currants
- 1 cups raisins, chopped
- 1 cup chopped dates
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 1/2 cup brandy
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground or freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mace
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup plus 5 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
- 5 large eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup molasses
Mix the fruit in a large bowl with the red wine and brandy. Stir to combine and set aside to marinate for 2 to 4 hours.
Butter two 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pans and line them with clean parchment paper. Butter the paper.
Sift the flour with the spices twice. Add the baking powder and salt and sift again.
Put the butter into a large mixing bowl and cream until smooth. Add sugar; using an electric mixer, cream until light and fluffy. Beat the egg yolks slightly and then add them to the bowl. Mix the batter well before you start to add the flour-spice mixture. Stir the batter as you add the flour, a little at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the flour is thoroughly incorporated, add the molasses and stir. Finally, stir in the fruit, along with any soaking liquid left in the bowl.
Put the egg whites in a stainless steel or glass bowl and beat with a clean beater to stiff peaks. Fold them into the batter thoroughly and then spoon the batter into the prepared pans. Cover loosely with a clean cloth and let the batter sit overnight in a cool place to mellow.
On the next day, heat the grill (using your surface temp thermometer) or heat your oven to 250° (for the less adventurous). Place the fruitcake in the middle of your grill (use the burners on the extreme ends so you get a baking effect rather than a grilling effect directly underneath the cake) or again, for the less adventurous put your cake on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 3 1/2 to 4 hours. After 1 1/2 hours, cover the pan with a piece of brown paper (do not use foil) or set the pan in a paper bag and return it to the oven. Turn your cake every hour or so to promote even baking.
When the cake has baked for 3 1/2 hours, test the with a toothpick or cake tester. If the tester comes out of the center of the cake clean, the cake is done. Leave the cake in the pan and set on wire rack to cool.
When the cake(s) are completely cooled, turn out of the pans, leaving the brown-paper lining on the cake. Wrap the cake with parchment, then foil, and pack the cake in a tin. Homemade fruitcakes need air, so punch a few holes in the lid of the tin or set the cover loosely on the tin.
Set the tin in a cool, undisturbed place, and every day or two before Christmas, open the foil and sprinkle the cake with a small glassful of brandy, wine, or bourbon. The liquor will keep the cake most and flavorful and help preserve it as well.
All there is to do is sit back by the fire after a great meal, pop open a tin of your homemade fruitcake and enjoy!