Archives for posts with tag: holidays

With the news of the Black Friday Brawls at WalMart, it looks like the holidays are well and truly upon us.  And we all know what that means – lots of family and friends getting together … and lots and lots of leftovers.

Let’s be honest, while the meal, itself, is good – it’s the sandwiches that you have in the days following that are truly outstanding.  As for me, my favorite thing is toasted (blank) and cheese sandwiches.  Whether it’s turkey, ham or roast beef, add a little sharp cheese and toast it with some soup on the side and you have a feast fit for a king!

Pop this in a plastic container and it’ll keep in the fridge for three weeks or so.

Fancy-Pants Cheese Spread

  • 9 oz sharp cheese, grated (I like a good cheddar, but Gruyere would also be yummy)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp English mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • dash or two of Tobasco (or your favorite hot sauce)
  • milk or cream, if necessary

Pop the lot into a food processor and blend until smooth.  If it forms a ball, dribble in some milk or cream until it smooths out.

Cheese spread 2 Cheese spread 1


No!!!  Don’t go!!!

Don’t leave just because I said “fruitcake” – really, they can be delicious and rich and absolutely perfect with your morning cup of coffee!  Unfortunately, most people only experience the god-awful fruit-bricks that are sent by relatives that they don’t know or like, so you may not realize that fruitcake doesn’t have to involve green candied cherries! (I mean … ew!)

In fact, in this particular case, I stuck with some of my favorite fruits – dried apples (yum!), raisins and currants.  But, if you wanted to add dried cherries or apricots or cranberries, I think they would be absolutely lovely, too!  In fact, if you don’t have any Calvados – the apple-y booze of the gods – then, substitute rum or bourbon.  That’s the fun of fruitcake – it really is one of the easiest cakes to tweak to your own taste.  And, hey, they count as one of your five-a-day, right?

Anyway, this makes two loaf-tin cakes, so save one for yourself and give one to a relative that you DO like … and convert them to the wonders of fruitcake, as welll!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Calvados Fruitcake

  • 2 1/2 cups mixture of golden raisins and currants
  • 1 cup chopped dried apples
  • 1 cup candied ginger
  • 1 Tbsp candied peel (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups Calvados, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups toasted pecans, roughly chopped
  • 8 oz unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Okay … let’s get started with a little light prep, shall we?  First of all, preheat your oven to 300 F and butter and line with parchment paper two 8″ loaf pans.  Set aside and move on to your dried fruit – dump the raisins, currants and apples into a medium-sized pot along with about a half-cup of the Calvados.  Heat over medium heat until the fruit absorbs the liquor, then set aside to cool.  Toast your pecans in the oven for about 10 minutes, then add to the fruit mixture along with the ginger and candied peel, mix well and let continue to cool.  In a measuring pitcher, mix the 5 eggs and vanilla extract, using a fork to break up.  And, lastly, in a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt.  Now, you’re all set!

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  While the mixer is on medium, slowly add the eggs and vanilla, scraping down the sides to get it as smooth as possible.  Reduce the mixer to low and add the flour mixture, then, before the flour is fully incorporated, add the fruit and nuts, making sure it’s thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter between the two prepared loaf tins and bake for 1 hour 10 minute to 1 hour 20 minutes, until a knife inserted down the middle comes out clean.  Set the tins on a wire rack and immediately pour about a half-cup of Calvados into the hot cake (it absorbs better and some of the alcohol evaporates when the cake is still hot).  Let cool for about an hour before removing from the tin to finish cooling.  Keep wrapped in foil and it’ll last for a week.

Calvados Fruit Cake

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