Poor fruitcake. It gets such a bad rap for being cloyingly sweet, heavy as a doorstop, and generally inedible. If you were gifted with just such a treat this holiday season, don't automatically shove it to the back of the freezer. Here are a few suggestions for how you might eat and actually enjoy that fruitcake.
Part of the problem with fruitcakes is in the name. We hear "cake" and we expect something light and fluffy. Fruitcake is really more of a candy-like confection. It's actually meant to be as dense and impenetrable as it is! The cake portions are more like the glue that holds the fruits and nuts together.
Try slicing it very thinly with a serrated knife and breaking off little nibbles with your fingers. Take a minute to notice all the flavors in each bite - the bits of dried fruit, the soft nuts, and the boozy cake.
If the fruitcake holds together well, you can also try toasting a slice until the edges are crunchy and the fruit gets slightly caramelized. Slathered with a bit of butter or paired with a slice of very sharp cheddar, this makes an excellent midday treat.
Fruitcake also gets a second life crumbled over ice cream. We love the chewy bites paired with the melting ice cream. The ice cream also helps mellow the intense flavor of the fruitcake.
After our success with re-creating Raincoast Crisp crackers, we're also wondering if we could slice fruitcake extra-thin and bake the slices in the oven until they're completely dried out and crisp. This would make a handy snack to stow in a backpack or purse, don't you think?
What are your favorite ways to eat fruitcake?
And PS: If that fruitcake up above looks amazing (and good enough to bake in January!) you can get the recipe here:
• Get the recipe: Mini Vietnamese Fruitcakes from Andrea Nguyen at Viet World Kitchen