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Recipes that appear in Idea Alley have not been tested by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Traditional fruitcakes need 6 to 8 weeks of curing to taste their best, which means it's too late for this Christmas. But that's not to say it's too late for all fruitcake. This recipe adapted from Alton Brown of Food Network fame is ready to enjoy in just two weeks.

Two Week Fruitcake

1 cup golden raisins

1 cup currants

½ cup dried cranberries

½ cup dried blueberries

½ cup dried cherries

½ cup dried apricots, chopped

Zest of 1 lemon, coarsely chopped

Zest of 1 orange, coarsely chopped

¼ cup chopped candied ginger

1 cup gold rum

1 cup granulated sugar

10 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup unfiltered apple juice

4 whole cloves, ground

6 allspice berries, ground

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1¾ cups all-purpose flour

1½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 eggs

¼ to ½ cup toasted pecans, broken

Brandy for basting and/or spritzing

In a large bowl, combine dried fruits, candied ginger and both zests. Add rum and macerate overnight, or microwave for 5 minutes to rehydrate fruit.

Place fruit and liquid in a nonreactive pot with the sugar, butter, apple juice and spices. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring often, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for at least 15 minutes. (Batter can be completed up to this point, then covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before completing cake.)

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients and sift into fruit mixture. Quickly bring batter together with a large wooden spoon, then stir in eggs one at a time until completely integrated, then fold in nuts. Spoon into a 10-inch nonstick loaf pan and bake for 1 hour. Cake is done when a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean. If not, bake another 10 minutes, and check again.

Cool cake in pan on a wire rack or trivet. Baste or spritz top with brandy and allow to cool completely before turning out from pan.

When cake is completely cooled, place cake in a tight-sealing, food safe container. Baste or spritz with brandy every 2 to 3 days for two weeks before enjoying.

Makes 1 (10-inch) loaf.

REQUEST

■ No-bake Oreo pie or dessert for Pamela Johnson.

Send recipe contributions, requests and culinary questions to Kelly Brant, Idea Alley, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, P.O. Box 2221, Little Rock, Ark. 72203; email:

kbrant@arkansasonline.com

Please include a daytime phone number.

Food on 11/28/2018

Print Headline: Fast fruitcake cuts time to two weeks

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