Monday, December 28, 2009

[Not] Miss Fogarty's Christmas Cake

There were plums and prunes and cherries,
There were citrons and raisins and cinnamon, too
There was nutmeg, cloves and berries
And a crust that was nailed on with glue
There were caraway seeds in abundance
Such that work up a fine stomach ache
That could kill a man twice after eating a slice
Of Miss Fogarty's Christmas cake.


I honestly think that my favourite song of the holiday season is Miss Fogarty's Christmas Cake - specifically the rendition done by Sharon, Lois and Bram. I think it stems back from my childhood Christmas Eves when my parents, my little sister (who was barely a year old when the special started running) and I would curl up on the couch in our PJs with hot chocolate, coffee and a big plate of shortbreads, and sing away to our hearts' content. As the years went by and the show finally wrapped and faded away, we still catch ourselves wishing that we had a DVD of the special (all I can find is VHS!).

My dad is still the only person I know of who openly admits he enjoys traditional fruitcake. I'm talking about the doorstop logs of way too colourful fruit and nut chunks held together by something more akin to paper mache paste than batter. He is also probably the world's biggest fan of mincemeat - every year my mom and I would use the scraps of dough from a day's worth of apple pies and re-work them into tart shells, filling them with a bottle of mincemeat from the grocery store and presenting them to my dad (setting a few aside for Santa, of course! It's become the tradition now for me to be the tart-baker, and because I'm crazy like that I make my own mincemeat for them too. Last year's batch even won me a contest! However, since we hardly had any tomatoes this year (let alone spare greenies!), I looked for another formula.

And as things go, I found not one but two projects when I started flipping through one of last year's bargain-book-bin finds: The Best of Food: Marion Kane's Favorite Recipes from the Toronto Star. A vegan mincemeat recipe was there, and looked wonderful in it's own right, but on the very next page was something called Cheater's Fruitcake. What made it a "cheat", I suppose, was the use of jarred mincemeat in place of the traditional mix of spices, fruit and vegetables you would normally add to the Christmas cake.So, if you think of it, I toiled for the mincemeat in order to cheat with the fruitcake!

And what a fruitcake this turned into: while most "large" creations of it's kind average around the 5 lb mark, mine topped out at just over 6! This gigantic spice, fruit and nut concoction took over my biggest (11 inch) springform pan (that's a Canadian dime in the above photo), and took well over two hours to bake. It is the heaviest single object I think I've ever made - and though I skipped the royal icing and marzipan (nobody in my family likes it!) I'm sure that that sucker will take a good 6 months or so to nibble through!

Of course, like with all good pie fillings, I wound up with much more mincemeat than I needed for the cake - but my efforts were graciously taken by a combination of my professors and a children's charity function that was taking donations. Next year I may well make extra and can it for later, since I'm sure my dad won't mind too much if I keep on the tradition.

Mizz Rs Big Bad Mincemeat
Makes 5 cups
2 tbsp canola oil
4 shallots, diced
1 cup shredded red cabbage
2 ripe pears, diced (skin on)
2 apples, diced (skin on)
1 cup sultana raisins
3/4 cup currants
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup 100% cranberry juice
juice of 2 oranges
juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup spiced rum
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tbsp blackstrap molasses
zest of 1 orange
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 tbsp pine nuts
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup ground almonds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
  1. Heat canola oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add shallots and cabbage, cook until very tender and fragrant, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Stir in pears, apples, raisins, currants, dried cranberries, cranberry juice, orange juice and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, stirring.
  4. Reduce heat to a simmer, add rum, brown sugar, molasses, orange and lemon zests, ginger, walnuts, pine nuts, pecans and ground almonds.
  5. Cover and cook 20 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally.
  6. Stir in cinnamon and cloves, cook (uncovered) 10 minutes longer.
*You can can this for shelf storage or freeze for later use if desired*

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 534.0
Total Fat: 19.6 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 21.4 mg
Total Carbs: 85.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 7.2 g
Protein: 5.5 g



Mizz Rs Big Bad Christmas Cake
Serves 32, easy
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp honey
360 g (12 oz) lowfat silken tofu, pureed
2 tbsp water
3/4 cup slivered almonds
3 apples, shredded
1/2 cup maraschino cherries
1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup barley flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
2 tbsp cocoa
4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups of "Mizz R's Big Bad Mincemeat"
  1. Preheat oven to 275F, grease a 10" springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar and honey.
  3. Add tofu and water, blending well.
  4. Stir in almonds, apples and cherries.
  5. In another bowl combine the flours, cocoa powder, pumpkin pie spice, 5 spice and baking soda.
  6. Alternating with the mincemeat, stir the flour mixture into the creamed mixture.
  7. Spread into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.
  8. Bake for 2 hours, then cover top with foil and continue baking another 30-40 minutes.
  9. Cool completely in the pan, then unmould and wrap in rum-soaked cheesecloth. Wrap again in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for 5-7 days, or freeze up to 3 months.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 173.1
Total Fat: 6.5 g
Cholesterol: 7.6 mg
Sodium: 34.8 mg
Total Carbs: 26.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.2 g
Protein: 3.3 g

2 comments :

kamran siddiqi said...

Would you believe that I've never hear of Miss Fogart's Christmas Cake?! And I love christmas music!!

Great post! And Have a Happy New Year! :)

Johanna said...

My teacher was mrs fogarty but I have never heard that her christmas cake was a song.

I love christmas cake if it is a good rich moist one but I love it even more when I choose the dried fruit and have lots of apricots and prunes and cranberries. I am agog at your recipe with shallots and cabbage - how bizarre - what a shame christmas is over so I will have to remember to try it next year - the one I made this year had banana which I thought was interesting enough!

I also found a recipe for a chocolate panforte with fruit mince in it - eggless, dairy free and not much butter/marg but tastes like the best fruity nutty chocolate fudge - on my blog in dec if you want to check it out