Fruitcake brings either a smile or a frown to your face. For generations, there have been jokes about fruitcake and a fruitcake always seems to be the gift that keeps giving at company gift exchanges. When I was a kid, I will admit, fruitcake wasn’t my favorite. I always ate one piece to be polite. When I got older, I discovered a pecan fruitcake from east Texas that everyone in the office coveted.
I recently found a recipe for fruitcake bread; don’t click away quite yet. This bread is absolutely delicious. I have been studying flour and substitutions and yes, spelt flour can be used as a substitute for all-purpose straight across, cup for cup. After visiting with a chef regarding my flour find, he also recommended a 60/40 substitute using 60% spelt and 40% UNBLEACHED all-purpose flour to keep the bread lighter. He was right.
This bread reminds me of a raisin type bread. It has the sweet hint of fruitcake but not overwhelming and the texture of whole goodness. I can tell you this will be a staple in our house at Christmastime, and at our Christmas in July celebrations. Garnished with powdered sugar on top is the finishing touch. Hot out of the oven is good or toasted the next day. Closing my eyes when I take a bite, I feel I am at the North Pole having tea and bread with Mrs. Claus. Enjoy this bread and perhaps you’ll have found a new tradition for your family.
(Makes 1 8×4 loaf)
- 3 cups flour (I used a combination of 60% fresh ground spelt and 40% Big J’s all-purpose unbleached flour) divided
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon SAF instant yeast (red bag)
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, cubed
- 8 ounces fruitcake fruit (I used the already diced mixed fruit combination)
- 2/3 cup chopped pecans
- 1 teaspoon clear vanilla
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- Garnish: confectioner’s sugar
- In a large bowl or the bowl of your mixer, whisk together 1 cup flour, granulated sugar, yeast, and cinnamon.
- In a small saucepan, cook milk and butter over medium-low heat until mixture registers 120 – 130 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. (Butter does not need to melt completely)
- Add milk mixture to the flour mixture and beat for 2 minutes. Beat in candied fruit and pecans. Gradually beat in enough remaining 2 cups flour and salt to form a soft, slightly sticky, dough but pulls away from sides of bowl.
- Knead in mixer on low for 6-8 minutes. This will also count as the first rising.
- Spray an 8×4 loaf pan with non-stick spray. Form the dough into a loaf and tuck into pan. Let rise in a warm, draft free place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a small bowl, whisk together egg and 1 tablespoon water. Brush onto dough.
- Bake until top is golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes, covering with foil if bread is starting to get too brown. Bread should temp at 185 – 190 degrees when done.
- Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack. After cooled completely, garnish with confectioner’s sugar if desired. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Recipe adapted from Southern Cast Iron Nov/Dec 2020 Edition