For my entire life, I have HATED fruitcake. I have horrible memories of fruitcakes with citron, which I hate, and lots of dates, which I am not fond of.
But this year, someone gave us a fruitcake which was a revelation to me---it was fabulous! None of that nasty citron, and it tasted wonderful.
I got her recipe and I've made several variations of it, including my current fave which includes only these dried fruits---mangoes and cherries, plus pecans (lots), some dried pineapple, and marashino (sp?) cherries.
A couple of questions:
**I have lots of hazelnuts in the freezer. Which dried fruits would work well with hazelnuts?
**Re dried fruits---I do not want to use dates, raisins, figs, or prunes (and probably some other fruits I can't remember at this time). I like dried apricots, cherries, and mangoes. Any other dried fruits I should consider?
**I love using pecans because they become delightfully toasted and crunchy with the long slow baking time. Would almonds also be a good choice in fruitcake?
**If anyone has a fruitcake recipe they love, pls tell me where to find it. I'd like to experiment with other batters (eg the non fruit and nut part of the fruitcake).
I also realized that one thing I like about fruitcake are the end pieces and the top and bottom because the nuts in those areas are extra delicious. So I am now using those incredibly small loaf pans (about 3 inches by 2 inches by about 1.5 inches tall) to maximize the outside to inside ratio.
If anyone wants to share any fruitcake advice or comments, I'd be grateful.
My favourite fruitcake recipe is from Fine Cooking:
In addition to dried apricots & currants, it calls for dried apples & crystallized ginger.
I love your idea for using dried fruits, especially mangoes - maybe shredded coconut would go well in a tropically themed fruitcake?
re. hazelnuts - citrus & hazelnut work well together - maybe candied orange and/or lemon peel?
I don't see why almonds wouldn't work in a fruitcake - you could use amaretto instead of rum...
Let us know when you come up with your "perfect" fruitcake!
I use James Beards' recipe, using a poundcake base. Sometimes I will use whole wheat flour. I think you could use whichever fruit and nut combos you'd like. Go stand and gaze at the dried fruit selection at your favorite market, you can get ideas there.
Also, try out a handful of mixtures, try eating some different combinations of nuts and fruits.
Hazelnuts and apricots go nicely together.
I used Emeril's Creole Fruitcake recipe with bourbon sauce, this year and it was wonderful. He isn't specific about what dried fruits or nuts, as I recall, and I have similar likes/dislikes to yours.