23 October 2008

Review: Mary of Puddin Hill Pecan Fruitcake

I bought the 1.5 pound pecan fruitcake for $23.95 plus shipping and handling, which ended up being $30.90. Here’s the box it comes in:

Here’s the loaf: it comes in a pan that looks like the type that they can bake it in; it’s cardboard (although silver on the outside and nice looking, as cardboard goes). They also have larger cakes; the 2- and 3-pound cakes come in tins.

One of the best things about this cake is that it comes with its own storage bag and twist tie. What a great idea! Fruitcake is not something most people eat at one sitting (no, me neither), and I think that including this bag shows some nice knowledge of the customer and concern for the quality of their fruitcake.

I purchased the pecan fruitcake, but they also have variations with walnuts, apricots, and other combinations. The very first ingredient on their list is pecans, followed by dates, pineapples, cherries, sugar, wheat, eggs, and baking powder. That’s it. By the way, the pineapples are processed with turmeric—that could be why several fruitcakes have turmeric listed. Not sure. But a very fine ingredients list, I must say, and I really feel it is reflected in the quality and flavor of this cake.

I am not a big fan of Southern style fruitcakes, because I like my alcohol. As usual, this one doesn’t include it. But the flavor of this cake is really nice. First, you have to like nuts, because that really is almost all it is. The cake batter is actually very difficult to find, and in effect the cake is very candy-like in consistency, almost praline-like because of the abundance of pecans. The chunks of fruit (including my favorite, the date) add a little novelty to the heavy nut flavor. This cake has a very clean, fresh, home-made flavor. It’s not goopy; doesn’t taste carmelized; even the candied fruit tastes fresh and is neither hard nor gluey. There are no off flavors. Make no mistake, this is plenty sweet, though.

This goes right to the top of my Southern fruitcake list. It truly stands out because of the quality of the ingredients, the freshness, and the flavor. The cost is certainly justified—have you seen how much nuts cost lately?

Reviewing this one makes me feel a little bad about the Collin Street fruitcake review I did when I was just starting out and didn’t know my Southern style fruitcakes from any other kind. Until recently, they were at the top of my list of Southern style fruitcakes, but they really deserve to be dethroned by this one. It’s a goody.

UPDATE: Since this review, Mary of Puddin Hill has shut down operations. See updates here (read the comments, too).