Fruitcake -- like it, hate it?
A neighbor gave us a "gourmet" fruitcake complete with a decorative tin from an apparently large bakery in one of the southern states. Supposed to be just wonderful. Well, it's sweet, and semi-attractive on top, with pecans halves and a small handful of red cherries and green pineapple chunks. That's about all I can say for it. It is completely flavorless, and pretty lacking in the way of fruit. Apparently, in order to not impart flavor into this creation, they only basically use a bit of candied pineapple as the fruit inside of the fruitcake.
While I of course thanks the neighbor profusely for this almost $30 with shipping, not quite 2 lb, monument to bland, and I would never want to her to think we didn't enjoy it, probably most of it will go to my chickens.
I find it rather curious that commercial fruitcakes are always SO bad. At least, every one I've ever tried has been. Generally flavorless, often with an overly dry, almost sawdusty texture. Perhaps out there somewhere, a commercial bakery is making wonderful fruitcakes, but if so, I haven't come across one. No wonder fruitcake has such a terrible reputation in this country.
So, who makes their own fruitcake? I do, and quite often I even make the candied fruits myself. Many times, I've used various citrus peels, carefully cleaned, scraped of pith, boiled first to remove the bitterness, rinsed, and then candied in sugar syrup, plus various other dried and candied fruits -- raisins, figs, dates, cherries, pineapple, apricots, prunes, papaya, mango, even cranberries and dried sliced kiwi. And, usually as many kinds of nuts as I can get my hands on, pretty much anything except for peanuts (too common) or chestnuts (wrong type of nut, starchy, not oily, really more like a potato functionally).
I've made various kind of batters over the years, both dark and light, and various flavorings. The "classic" light but still noticeable nutmeg/clove/cinnamon/ginger/allspice blend is my favorite, but other mixes work as well. I did a white "tropical" fruitcake once that included papaya, mango, pineapple, cherries, coconut, macadamias, Brazil nuts, and ginger/cardamom as the predominant spices that was very nice.
If you make a great fruitcake, or even know of one commercially made, please share.