When I make something, I tend to start with something traditional or time-tested as a baseline before moving onto variations—for example, I almost always follow a recipe to the letter the first time. So for this fruitcake, I haven’t selected any fancy recipe, but rather the Dark Fruitcake recipe out of my Joy of Cooking cookbook (the 1997 publication, which I believe was skewered by some because it also contained fancy/exotic recipes, but I love it to death—it’s my Bible when it comes to cooking).
This gosh-dern fruitcake. I’m sure anyone who has made one will agree with me that it's a freakin’ scavenger hunt to assemble all the ingredients needed.
My friend Laura graciously stepped up to be the candied fruit coordinator for three of the fruitcake bakers for aforementioned party, and purchased, received, and stickily sorted all of the candied fruit: lemon and orange peel, citron, pineapple, and Morello cherries (from Market Hall Foods). They are very nice quality and I'm sure that will reflect well on this fruitcake.
It was up to me to come up with the dried fruits and spices, then. Not too difficult in a metropolitan area such as Chicago, but I did have a bit of a tussle with the currants and mace. I should have just found a gourmet shop but ended up wandering aimlessly through several fruit/international food markets near me, finally giving up and purchasing dried blueberries instead of the currants. Honestly, I don’t think it’s going to make that much of a difference (and OK, I admit, the recipe is not being followed to the absolute letter--but who cares but me, really?)
I started all the fruit out with a red wine soak last night. This is what the makers of my favorite fruitcake do. Today’s the day to put it all together and get it baked. I’ll report back soon!