Note: Most of us don't love fruitcake. Most of us, in fact, groaned at the thought of tasting one. But this one was different. We tasted it, tasted it again--and then again. Hey, we said to one another, that was really pretty good. Actually, it was more than pretty good. It was great. Recipe from Kathie Jenkins
1 pound dates, chopped
1 pound golden raisins
1 pound red and green candied cherries
1 pound red and green candied pineapple
1 pound almonds, blanched, toasted and chopped
1 pound pecans, broken into pieces
4 cups flour
1 pound unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground mace
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup rum
1/4 cup brandy
Juice and zest of 2 oranges
Juice and zest of 2 lemons
Thoroughly grease 4 (8x5-inch) loaf pans. Combine apricots, dates, raisins, candied cherries and pineapple, almonds and pecans in large bowl. Mix in 1 cup flour to dredge mixture. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at time, beating after each addition.
Sift remaining flour with cloves, cinnamon, mace, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with rum, brandy, 1/4 cup Grand Marnier and fruit juices and zests. Fold into fruit-nut mixture. Pour into loaf pans. Bake at 300 degrees 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until wood pick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean.
Cool in pans 15 minutes. Remove from pans onto wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Moisten 4 pieces cheesecloth, large enough to cover each loaf, with Grand Marnier and wrap around each loaf. Wrap Grand Marnier-soaked loaves in foil and refrigerate or store in cool place. Makes 4 (8x4-inch) loaves.
Note: Fruitcake improves in flavor with storage.