Nuts and dried fruit are associated with the Holiday Season and the New Year.
They are supposed to bring luck and help start the year with sweetness and strength, something we particularly need these difficult times…
English pudding is one of such festive cakes, but it is somewhat too complicated, with lots of strange ingredients, while the Boozy Fruitcake I propose is quite simple, provided you have help chopping dried fruit, and do not spare the cost of real, aged Cognac, Armagnac, or Grand Marnier needed to douse the cake.
There is also our morning treat: the somewhat heavy yeasted Seedy, Fruity and Nutty Bread, close to a fruit-nut cake, with complex, bold flavor I always have sliced in the freezer. We toast pieces to enjoy with our coffee.
A variation of this bread can become a vassilopita —the New Year’s cake where the lucky coin is hidden.
I used to make our family’s traditional rich, elaborate cake but recently I prefer the simpler Orange or Tangerine Olive Oil Cake, the one I soak in syrup and I often complement with jam or marmalade as well as with seasonal fruit to create a more elaborate dessert. It is a lighter version of my mother’s vassilopita, which she always baked for the New Year celebrations.
Our neighbor Ela’s New Year cake, is another idea: she bakes it halving her mother’s original recipe that calls for 16 egg whites…
This is a delicious, quite easy treat, especially if you have a surplus of eggs, as Ela does. Fortunately she shares with us some of the delicious eggs her hens lay this time of year!
Use the egg yolks to make Pots de Crème!