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Opening my mind to fruitcake

After too many years of laughing at fruitcake jokes, I've decided it's time to open my mind to the possibility that the mass-produced crap has given a bad name to a noble tradition. So, I am going to buy a fruitcake from a reputable source for a fair trial.

My husband has great admiration for the monastic tradition, so I'm going to buy one of the mail order monastery fruitcakes. I'm considering the Gethsemani monastery in Kentucky, the Abbeyville monastery in Missouri, or the Holly Cross monastery in Virginia. I'd appreciate any input or recommendations from fruitcake-loving CHs.

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  1. Id suggest that instead iof buying it that you make your own fruitcake if you want to know what a really good fruitcake tastes like.

    I like Alton Brown's fruitcake recipe as a good place to start. You need to use dried fruit instead of the purchased macerated fruit to get the proper results but you can varity the fruits that you use according to your taste and availability.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Kelli2006

      Another vote for Alton Brown's Free Range Fruitcake recipe. It is simply addictive.

      1. re: jmcarthur8

        Same here. I froze a few slices last Christmas and had one last week with tea. Amazing. Thank you, son, for making it....

      2. re: Kelli2006

        I know I'm in the minority, but I made the Alton Brown fruitcake last year and didn't care for it. I made the recipe exactly, and I found the fruits to be a bit too tart for my liking. And if you don't already have many of the ingredients, it's not an inexpensive recipe to make. I read quite a few reviews and finally decided on the Gethsemani Farms fruitcake. Just placed my order yesterday, so I can't tell you how it is. If you can believe it, there is a website dedicated to fruitcake: http://www.mondofruitcake.com/. They have an explanation of the different types of fruitcakes, so that might help you make a decision.

      3. I've never met a fruitcake I didn't like, so I'm no help at all in recommending any. What I can do is suggest that you learn what you can about the ingredients of each and go with whatever has your favorite stuff and/or the least of what you aren't crazy about. Lots of people are grossed out by the "yucky green chunks" (dyed candied citron rind), some folks don't care for candied pineapple, I'm not a big fan of loads of nuts. I like mine dark and sticky, with just enough cake to hold everything together; most people nowadays prefer a lighter cake. So find out what you can and judge for yourself, in addition to whatever recommendations you get here.

        1. I do think you'll be happier with a fruitcake made from dried fruits rather than sticky and/or neon candied stuff.

          2 Replies
          1. re: sandylc

            That's why I suggested looking around. Some of us are pretty fond of the sticky and the "neon" stuff, although a lot of the better dried fruits are pretty sticky as well. IF your ideal fruitcake would be a sort of poundcake with non-sticky dried fruits and plenty of nuts, then any that I'd recommend would not do at all. Most of the mail-order companies give perfectly adequate descriptions of their product, so that one can easily decide whether that's what one would or would not like.

            1. re: sandylc

              Absolutely leave out that candied citron crap!

              1. The monastery fruitcake sounds lovely. Give it a good soaking with rum or bourbon, your choice, and wrap it up until Christmas. Then slice in as thin as you can and have it with a cup of hot tea.