Monday, November 22, 2010

Sourdough Fruitcake


We all knew I'd do something like this, correct?

I based this on a recipe in Breads and Cakes With Homemade Starters, by Ada Lou Roberts, 1967. Strangely, I own two copies of this oddball volume, but I've only recently remembered it. I think these were purchased prior to the tornado, and then lost in the clean-up. Anyway, here we are with a sourdough fruitcake.

I used the starter I already have thriving, not the buttermilk based one Ada Lou recommends. I think we can all trust a baker named, "Ada Lou." Or I can at least.

I also made some changes with the fruits, using my own candied apricots and dates in place of nuts, etc. I skipped the wine and went straight for brandy because I had it, and prefer it to wine. As with the fruits, you can substitute pretty freely with fruitcake recipes, just keep the measures equal. I really like the way these turned out.


You Will Need:

1 1/2 cups raisins (sultanas, red flame, etc.)
1 1/2 cups dried currants
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons blackberry cordial (remember, this was published in the 60's when that shit was popular) or other wine
1 cup fed sourdough starter
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
4 cups AP flour, divided
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon mace (I adore mace, I'm glad she includes this overlooked spice)
3 cups candied fruit (cherries, pineapple, peels, candied ginger, etc.)
1 cup or more chopped nuts (I used candied dates, but some people swear by unsweetened coconut as a nut replacement)

Soak raisins and currants in wine overnight. Feed starter overnight. In the morning, drain the fruit, reserving the liquid. Grease 3 standard loaf pans, or two larger ones (or six mini-whatever). Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. With a large pan of water set on the bottom shelf.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars until light. Beat in eggs and lemon rind. Pour wine drained from raisins into mixture. Stir in starter and 3 cups of the flour sifted with the spices, and baking soda. Sprinkle remaining flour over the fruits and stir into mixture. Turn into loaf pans and let rise 30 minutes in a warm spot. Bake about 2 1/2 hours for standard loaf pans, checking for doneness at about 2 hours. Remove to rack, and cool on their sides, in pan for 10 minutes. Remove, and cool completely on rack. When cool, brush with wine and then wrap tightly and store before using.

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