Christmas fruitcake. I’ve always hated that dry, brown loaf with its bitter, plastic-tasting chunks of “fruit”. Only my dad would eat it; I guess nothing says Christmas like dipping a piece of dry, tasteless plastic/bread into an espresso cup, and then picking the gummy fruits out of your teeth for days afterward. It’s all a part of the holiday cheer! This Christmas fruitcake, however, is not like that. It’s even (dare I say it)… good!
Now that my family is gluten-free, it seems like the skies have opened and baked goods (baked at home) have become reinvented. Old, store-bought staleness has reinvented itself as warm, moist deliciousness.
When you can’t eat wheat flour, all processed, premade food immediately becomes off-limits. Scouring the internet for artfully photographed gluten-free recipes becomes a hobby. It also seems that, once you start shopping for gluten-free flour in health-food stores, you start to take notice of the other things that are sold there. Next thing you know, you’re eating chia seeds for breakfast with your steel cut oats and “dessert” is a throat-soothing herbal tea. It’s funny how naturopathic medicine can infiltrate your life once you open the door to it.
So, now that the holidays are here, and to satiate my father’s cravings for fruitcake, my mom doctored a Canadian Living recipe, making the first fruitcake I’ve been able to eat in the history of my young adult life. What was once dry, tasteless cake became sweet, soft, nutty and spicy. The natural dried fruit was delicious, with its rich, brandy-like aftertaste. It didn’t even get stuck in my teeth.
Cheers to the holidays!
I even went back for seconds.
The Gluten-Free Holiday Fruitcake
dried: apricots, figs, mangoes, raisins, cut into small pieces and soaked in 1 cup of brandy overnight (or for two nights) in the fridge.
1 cup of gluten-free all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp cloves, 1 tsp allspice
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 pinch sea salt
1/3 cup brown sugar or honey (or maple syrup, etc.)
Warm the dried fruit in a saucepan or microwave with the brandy. Mix together the remaining ingredients, first the dry, then the wet, then the walnuts. Finally, add the fruit and brandy and then pour everything into a small loaf pan. Cook the cake in preheated oven at 300 degrees F for about 1 hour. Let cool and enjoy with some dairy-free eggnog (I’ll be scouring the internet for an almond-milk version… and I’ve never even liked eggnog either); Have a Happy Gluten-Free Holiday!