Not-So-Traditional American Fruitcake

Not-So-Traditional American Fruitcake

Fruitcake is sometimes an acquired taste. This particular version is free of that neon-colored “fruitcake” blend that always shows up on the grocery aisles around the holidays. Instead, we use natural fruits, which are much more appealing.

Not-So-Traditional American Fruitcake
Makes 1 (9x5-inch) loaf
  • ½ cup (98 grams) dried apricots, chopped
  • ½ cup (72 grams) dried cherries
  • ½ cup (72 grams) dried cranberries
  • ½ cup (70 grams) golden raisins
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 1 cup (192 grams) bourbon
  • ½ cup (72 grams) pistachios, finely chopped
  • ½ cup (60 grams) sliced almonds
  • ½ cup (56 grams) pecans, finely chopped
  • ½ cup (48 grams) walnuts, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup (173 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (240 grams) firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) vanilla bean paste
  • 1½ cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) turbinado sugar
  1. In a medium heatproof bowl, combine apricots, cherries, cranberries, raisins, vanilla bean and reserved seeds, and zest. In a small saucepan, heat bourbon over medium heat (do not boil). Pour hot bourbon over dried fruit. Cover and let stand for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, and spray with baking spray with flour.
  3. Drain fruit, reserving bourbon. Remove and discard vanilla bean. In a large bowl, toss fruit with pistachios, almonds, pecans, and walnuts.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and brown sugar at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla bean paste. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating just until combined. Add fruit-nut mixture, beating just until combined (batter will be thick). Spoon batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with a spatula. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  5. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 1½ to 2 hours, covering with foil 30 minutes into baking to prevent excess browning, if necessary. Pour reserved bourbon over hot loaf, and let cool completely in pan. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.


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