For more than twenty years, beginning in the early days of researching my first cookbook when the handsome antique recipes first captured my cook's imagination, fruitcake making was one of my favorite holiday chores.
There was something soothingly nostalgic about it, even though it wasn't part of my childhood. My mother was a fine baker and had made the family fruitcakes in her youth, but she stopped making them when she married a minister and became a working mother with three rowdy boys.
And yet, candying my own citrus peel, picking over the pecans, hydrating the dried fruit and steeping it in whiskey, mixing the spice-and-sherry-laced pound cake batter, was always like a refreshing visit back to childhood. And the aroma after it went into the oven was worth every minute of the trouble it had taken to get it there.
Then, rather abruptly, I stopped—and not because I got tired of it. Read More