Alton's Freerange Fruitcake brandy question...
Just made a loaf of Alton Brown's Freerange Fruitcake. The recipe calls for storing the cake in an airtight container for ten days and spritzing or basting the cake periodically with brandy. My family does not really care for the taste of alcohol, so I'm a little concerned that straight brandy might have too much alcohol flavor. I thought I might dilute the brandy with water, but I wonder how that will impact the preservative quality of the brandy. Thoughts or suggestions? TIA!
I made it a about four years ago after seeing the AB episode, back when I had some money, as the ingredients are a bit pricy and not so easy to find, especially the blueberries. It's a very good and rather unusual fruitcake, with deluxe ingredients, worth the price, and not really much more effort than any other fruitcake, except my sister's, who's special fruitcake recipe starts with a boxed date nut bread mix (!)
I used hazelnuts instead of pecans, but I bet the pecans would be better, given the cranberry and blueberry additions. I just don't think of pecans as a fruitcake nut, I suppose they can be, but I'm stuck on hazelnuts. This is a fruitcake for fruitcake haters.
I did use the brandy spritz., that's how I know it doesn't add that much alcoholic intensity. The cake didn't appear or feel dry at any point during aging. I baked it in a longer Kaiser 10 inch loaf pan:
Here's the link, in case other posters are interested:
The recipe states, after directing you to baste the cake with brandy when it comes out of the oven, "Every 2 to 3 days, feel the cake and if dry, spritz with brandy." What that says to me is that it may or may not be necessary to do. The brandy spritz will not add much alcohol flavor and that will mellow over a short period of time. I don't know if I would dilute the brandy, maybe with orange juice, if anything, but if you're concerned about keeping qualities, you can refrigerate or freeze the fruitcake, well wrapped, very nicely or store in an airtight container. Actually, a fruit juice soak works just as well to add flavor and moisture. The alcohol is not totally necessary. I have seen recipes that recommend using fruit juice instead of alcohol, if that flavor is not desired.