Christmas Cake Prep {Fruit Soak and Candied Peel}

candied peel with brass matsya
 
With a foot sprain rendering me immobile, I suddenly have a lot of time at my disposal. So I soaked my fruits for the Christmas cake, and I am sharing the recipe here. Remember to buy only good quality fruit, and buy it fresh.


I also managed to make some Candied Peel from  Neha Mathur's beautiful Candied Peel recipe. While I don't add candied peel to my fruit soak, I do add it to my Christmas Cake. But there's a reason I like to make this Candied Peel just before I soak the fruits. The sugar syrup that remains from the candy peel making-process using the above recipe has a rich orange flavor, and is just perfect to add to your fruit soak!

Above and right are pictures of the candied peel I made with desi loose jacket oranges. Neha used mandarins in her recipe, but I prefer to use locally-grown stuff whenever possible, so I opted for these oranges. If you want the bright orange color, then you could opt for the mandarins too!The kids loved the candied peel, and I noticed several missing when I left them out to dry on the balcony ;)

Now for the fruit soak. Here's the recipe.

Printable Recipe

Christmas Cake Fruit Soak

Fruit
250g golden raisins
500g black currant
100g dried figs, chopped
500g dates, deseeded and chopped
200g tuttifruti

Sugar Syrup
 I used the leftover syrup from Neha's Candied Orange Peel Recipe {link is at the top of this page}

Spice Mix/ Spices
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon cloves, powdered
3 tablespoons of powdered cinnamon

5 nutmeg strands
5 saffron strands
1 fat stick of cinnamon
1 bayleaf

Alcohol
Rum or brandy, enough to cover the fruit

Other
-A clean container big enough to store all this fruit!
-Clean, sanitized hands
-Sanitized cutting board and knife
-A clean work space
-A long wooden spatula

So that's the complete list of ingredients for my fruit soak. What? No nuts? Nope! I love nuts in my Christmas Cake, but adding them too early makes them too soft. I prefer to add them in just a couple of days before I bake the cake. Soak about 700 grams of nuts of your choice a couple of days before you bake your cake.
stir with a clean wooden spatula


Method
1. Measure out all the ingredients. De-seed dates and pick the stems off the fruit.
2. If fruit sizes are too big (for instance dates and apricots), use a sharp knife and cut them into tiny bits. I like to leave the currants, raisins and sultanas whole.
2. Use a small mixing bowl, and gently add small quantities of each fruit to it, hand mix it all in. Then add it to the final container.
3. Mix in the spice powder with the orange syrup.
4. When you have a layer of fruit in your soaking container, lightly drizzle it with the spiced sugar syrup.
5.Continue till all the fruit and syrup is finished.
6. Now pour the alcohol in until it soaks the fruit completely. Add the whole spices. Don't stir today.
7. Close the container and let it rest in a cool place, away from direct sunlight.
8. From tomorrow, you will use a clean wooden spatula to give it a good stir once a day for a week.
9. From the second week, you may stir it just once a week, until it is time for you to bake your cake.
this is how the fruits looked on day 2

I always taste a bit before each stir - I recommend you do too...it's a lovely experience to taste that fruit as it matures :) and give yourself some free tipsy for the day ;)

That's it folks! Use this in the quantities demanded for your Christmas cake recipe and you will love the flavor and texture, I promise!

 

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