I am stupid and lazy, and I deserve all the bad things that happen to me. All of them. Except for George W. Bush. I played no part in that. But aside from that, it is all my fault.
How did I come to such a conclusion? Well, aside from my mother telling me, like, a billion times how I was fat and lazy and stupid and would never amount to anything, I was aided in coming to this conclusion by fruitcake.
I love fruitcake. I won't listen to anyone who knocks it. I am completely biased. I love fruitcake. I feel privileged that Myfanwe and I have reached a level of monetary comfort that we are able to afford dried fruit, which ain't cheap, let me tell you! Every year I read Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory", cry a little bit, then start baking. Oh, yes. I love fruitcake.
Every evening, after the dishes are washed and the kitchen tidied, I like to pull on some comfy jammies, brew a pot of tea, kick back in the recliner and knit. In the autumn and winter, I augment this ritual with a few slices of fruitcake. This is as close to paradise as I can get without a city-crippling snowstorm and a wood-burning fire.
As I may have mentioned in a post or two, this has been a busy autumn for me. But each weekend I have made a batch of fruitcake. Lovely fruitcakes. From three recipes, so far. Because I love all fruitcake.
Fruitcake is, if you don't already know, rather easy in the making, but tedious in the preparation. Most recipes are very specific -- butter the tins, line them with brown paper or parchment, then butter the brown paper or parchment. Cutting and fitting the paper takes something like eleventy-three hours per batch.
Well, the third recipe I made this year came from a very reputable source. I'm not naming names. This recipe instructed the baker only to grease the tins. Sweet Mother of Liver Sausage! I had been waiting for a recipe like this! I was so happy, I decided to bake a double batch! I greased the tins well with my own little hands -- a task I learned at my grandmother's knee. I thought about lining the tins with parchment, but the recipe didn't require it, and it saved me tons of time. What the hell!
I made a few minor variations, including substituting espresso for the prescribed apple juice or water -- I like my fruitcake dark and complex -- not just sweet. But no alterations that would affect the consistency of the final product. They baked beautifully,exiting the oven with a lovely sheen and a delicious aroma. I brushed them with a boiled rum syrup, let it soak in while they cooled for a few minutes, then tipped the cakes out of their tins.
And three of them stuck. %#$@!
I did the best I could to patch them back together, trying to use rum syrup as glue, but it is obvious that these are the crippled children of the fruitcake world. I don't think they will stand up to slicing, even if refrigerated. (Tip: If you want thin slices of fruitcake, refrigerate it before slicing.) I'm so sad.
All this could have been avoided if I hadn't been stupid and lazy.
So now, dear Readers, if indeed I have any readers after my confession here, please answer me this: Do you have any idea what kind of a dessert I could make with 4 pounds of crumbled fruitcake? I can't bear to waste it...that would be a sin.
Did I mention I love fruitcake?