Reggie Aspiras


by Reggie Aspiras

3/4 c raisins
3/4 c dried cranberries
3/4 c dried blueberries
3/4 c dried cherries
1/2 c dried apricots
1/4 c candied ginger
Zest from 1 lemon
Zest from 1 orange
1 c rum
1 and 1/4 c apple juice
1/2 c butter
1 c sugar
2 large eggs
1 c all-purpose flour
1 c whole-wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 and 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c coarsely chopped pecans
Brandy to taste

Mix raisins, dried fruits, candied ginger, lemon and orange zests, and rum. Soak overnight.
The next day, stir apple juice, butter and sugar into the fruit and rum mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
Add eggs and set aside.
In a bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, salt and pecans.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined. There will be some lumps but that is ok. Do not overmix.
Pour batter into a 5 x 9 x 2 and 1/2 inches loaf pan. Bake for one hour and test for doneness. If wet crumbs adhere to the skewer, return cake to oven and bake an additional five minutes. Retest for doneness in five-minute intervals until skewer comes out clean.
Set pan on a cooling rack and sprinkle with brandy.
After cake is completely cooled, sprinkle with brandy again and wrap first with plastic wrap then with aluminum foil. The cake may now be served. The cake improves, however, with aging and the addition of more brandy.

To age the fruitcake
Unwrap the cake and sprinkle with brandy every other day for two weeks, then once a week for the next two weeks.
When giving this fruitcake as a gift, I garnish the top of the finished cake with rows of the dried fruits used in the cake. The fruits are then brushed with strained marmalade to form an attractive glaze.

To make this recipe your own, substitute any or all of the fruits with those of your own choice. For example, you might like to try dried mango, dried papaya and dried pineapple for a tropical flair. Coconut could also be added and pili nuts would be a good substitution for the pecans. The main thing to consider when substituting is to maintain the total volume of fruit at 3½ cups.



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