Monday, December 17, 2007

Life Must Go On

Luke 4:22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. "Isn't this Joseph's son?" they asked.

So not long before I got sick - and I'm still sick - I had started to make Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Fruit Cake. The ingredients are assembled and the pans are prepared. So I will now post the recipe in great hopes that I will finish this project. Instead of making one 8 inch cake, I have prepared 3 5 inch (13 cm) cake pans. They will take less time to cook, and I can give them to more people.  She has called for some elaborate decorations on the cake which I'm sure I cannot come up with so I have simply eliminated them.  But if you want to check them out you can find them here. I've changed things a bit, so this is not her exact recipe.

Chocolate Brandy Christmas Fruitcake

300 grams dried soft prunes, chopped
150 grams golden raisins
100 gr dried currants
60 grams dried cranberries
100 gr dried apricots
50 gr dried cherries
175g/6¼oz butter, softened
175g/6¼oz dark brown sugar
175ml/6¼ fl oz honey
125ml/4½fl oz brandy
2 oranges, juice and zest only
1 tsp mixed spice
2 tbsp good quality dark cocoa
3 eggs, beaten
100 g rams chopped Brazil nuts
150g/5¼oz flour
75g/2½oz ground almonds
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

1. Preheat the oven to 300F

2. Line the sides and bottom of 4 5 in x 2½in deep, round loose-bottomed or springform cake pans with a layer of baking parchment. When lining the pans with a parchment strip, cut the material into strips that are  higher than the pan itself; the height of the strips protects the cake from catching on the outside of the cake pan.

3. Place the fruit, butter, sugar, honey, coffee liqueur, orange juice and zest, mixed spice and cocoa into a large wide saucepan. Heat the mixture until it reaches a gentle boil, stirring the mixture as the butter melts. Let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and leave to stand for 30 minutes.

4. After 30 minutes, the mixture will have cooled a little. Add the eggs, flour, ground almonds, baking powder and bicarbonate soda, and mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula until the ingredients have combined.

5. Carefully pour the fruitcake mixture into the lined cake pans. It will be around 1 pound batter per pan.  Transfer the cake pans to the oven and bake for 65 minutes, or until the top of the cakes are firm but will has a shiny and sticky look. At this point, if you insert a sharp knife into the middle of the cake, the cake should still be a little uncooked in the middle.

6. Place the cakes on a cooling rack. Once the cakes have cooled, remove it from the pans.

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