Holiday Baking for Geeks #3: The Cake Is a Pie

Geek Culture

2015-11-25 20.23.26

As you may remember from the last installment of Holiday Baking for Geeks (sponsored by Kenmore), we made Alton Brown’s excellent fruitcake, which blows the traditional stereotype of dry, candied fruit-laden cakes out of the water. Well, if you’ve tried making that, then this next but of holiday baking will be a breeze.

You see, as I made that fruitcake, I realized that the key component – the dried fruit macerated overnight in rum, and then cooked down with butter, sugar, and spices – was so good BEFORE being incorporated into a cake, that I had to try making a pie out of it.

And boy, did that work!

So, like before, you put about 6 cups of dried fruit (including at least a quarter-cup of candied ginger) into a sealable container with a cup of gold rum (or some other booze of your choice – feel free to experiment!), and let it sit for at least 24 hours, turning occasionally. This is called maceration. Basically you are re-hydrating the dried fruit, but with the booze. What’s cool about this part is that you can choose pretty much any dried fruit you like. We have a Trader Joes near use, where they carry a wide selection. Traditionally, you’d mix things up with raisins and currants and cherries and more, but pick what you like!

When the fruit is ready, put it in a pot along with:
1 cup sugar
5 ounces unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks)
1 cup unfiltered apple juice
4 whole cloves, ground (about a teaspoon)
6 allspice berries, ground (about a teaspoon)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger

The spice amounts are based on using fresh spices, but if you can’t find those, you can double or triple the amount in traditional store-bought brands, and do fine. The more you like spices, the more you should put in!

Bring it all to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, then take it off the stove and let it cool for at least 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare a pie dough. You can go fresh from scratch, which I will applaud you for if you so choose. I however used pre-made Pillsbury dough that I just had to roll out and place on a pie tin. I put the bottom layer of dough in the tin, trimmed the edges off, and then poured the fruit mix into the tin bringing it up to level with the edges. Then I laid the top dough over it all, trimmed the edges, and then used a fork to bind the edges around the rim. I poked some fun holes in the top with a knife, and then I coated it with an egg-wash (1 egg mixed with 1/2 cup of water), and sprinkled sugar over it.

Bake as directed by the pie dough recipe. Serve plain, or with some fresh whipped cream, or ice cream to taste. The pie tastes amazing, sweet and spicy, and perfect for the holidays. In reality, it’s very much akin to what’s called a mincemeat pie. And if you have fruit and enough dough left over from making the pie, you could make some fruit pastries as well.

If you try this or any of the Holiday Baking for Geeks recipes, please let us know in the comments!

And again, thanks to Kenmore for sponsoring this fun series of posts!

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