Israeli Tu bi'Shvat Fruitcake
Tu bi'Shvat cake is an Israeli fruitcake, much like an Italian panforte.
It is made to celebrate Tu bi'shvat (ט״ו בשבט if any of you read Hebrew), the Israeli holiday in February that celebrates the trees and fruits!
Local tree huggers take note!
As we have discussed before, I LOVE FRUITCAKE. PERIOD.
Even though this holiday is celebrated 6 weeks from now, I needed to bake a holiday fruit cake, and this one fit the bill.
There are so many great recipes out there......Rose Bakery in Paris has a great one in their cookbook, as does Alton Brown, and truth be told, I mail ordered a fruitcake from Beekman 1802 in Sharon Springs, NY which was devine.
I happen to love dried fruit in anything, so this had my name all over it.
The difference from a really good fruitcake and a bad one is the quality of the products you are using.
If you use cheap candied or dried fruits, then it will turn out a cheap, lousy tasting cake, which is what most people think of when they think of "fruitcake". A brick to throw at someone you dislike.
My local NJ food market, Kings, sells their own line of premium quality nuts and dried fruits, so I used them in this recipe to turn out one delicious loaf.
This recipe is from David Lebovitz's site, and I found another recipe that uses a tablespoon of Amaretto, Port or brandy.
And of course fruitcake deserves booze, so I added a tbsp of Grand Marinier.
David explains the long baking time, 90 minutes, which I was hesitant about.
The long baking time makes for a nice consistency he says, and this cake will last a few weeks, wrapped and stored properly.
However, I decided to bake the cake at the 300F for only 70 minutes, because my oven runs hot; I am afraid of long baking times; and my top was browning too much.
If you are looking for an easy to make, not too sweet fruitcake, that doesn't need weeks of tending to with cheesecloth and adding liquor every few days.....then this is your cake.
Israeli Fruitcake Tu bi'Shvat Cake (adapted from David Lebovitz and the Book of New Israeli Food):
7 tablespoons (60 g) flour
7 tablespoons (60 g) sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups (200g) mixed dried fruits; any combination, such as sour cherries, cranberries, raisins, figs, prunes, apricots, peaches (diced)
1 1/2 cups (150g) nuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped (I used almonds)
1 tbsp Grand Marinier or Amaretto or Port (optional)
Preheat the oven to 300ºF (150ºC.) Grease a 9-inch (23 cm) loaf pan and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper.
Mix the flour, sugar, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, and salt in a large bowl.
Stir in the dried fruits and nuts.
Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for about 70 minutes. Let cool, then remove cake from pan.
I loved it with a wedge of cheese and a glass of wine best.