So the holidays are coming to a close and here you are, staring at a few blocks of that-which-shall-not-be-named Christmas treats on your kitchen counter. Why do the fruit pieces have to be a radioactive color?, you may wonder. Why is it even called a cake when it’s too dense to be one?, you may wonder again. Give this holiday tradition a chance! Perhaps if you enjoy it a different way, you just might enjoy it. You know what I’m talking about. Fruitcake!
The grudge against fruitcake
I asked several friends why they have such a big dislike for fruitcake. Answers varied from a negative experience (“I had one and the brandy was too strong… I never ate another slice.”) to just plain distaste (“It tastes weird.”). When asked if they would reconsider enjoying fruitcake this holiday season, they merely shrugged their shoulders. “Perhaps if it didn’t taste so much like fruitcake,” said one friend. Uh, okay. There could be ways around that if you really think about it.
I’ve tasted good and bad fruitcakes – some are too sweet, others too strong on liquor, while there are others that are just right. Fruitcake is a Christmas treat I look forward to every season. To further spread my love for fruitcakes, here are some tips I’d like to share with fruitcake-averse folks. All I ask is for you to keep an open mind and give fruitcake some love!
How to enjoy fruitcake
We Filipinos love to eat, and we sure do love our cheese. We’ve seen fastfoods like KFC and Jollibee ask if you’d like extra cheese on your orders. Cheesy fries seem to be the biggest hit in those French fries kiosk I see. Don’t forget the cheese we put on various breads! Puto with cheese, ensaymada with cheese, cheese rolls… So, dear cheese-loving friend, I’m certain you know where I’m going with this. Why not place a slice of cheese on a slice of fruitcake?
Here’s what you do. On a microwable dish, lay a thin slice of fruitcake on its side. Now, grab a slice of Quezo de Bola cheese. It should be big enough to cover the fruitcake slice. Put it in the microwave for 20 seconds. You can up it to 30 seconds if you’d like your cheese to be extra bubbly and a little crispy. That’s what happens – the quezo de bola melts over the fruitcake. You’ll have yourself a salty-sweet tasty treat. Give it a try! You can also try this in an oven toaster. Heat the cheesy-fruitcake slice until the cheese melts on top.
Another festive way to enjoy fruitcake is with ice cream. We Filipinos have all sorts of ice cream flavors – just check out the freezer in supermarkets! For you to enjoy your fruitcake, all you need is the simplest of flavors – vanilla or chocolate ice cream. In a bowl, place a scoop of your ice cream flavor of choice. Top ice cream with crumbled fruit cake pieces. Voila! It is done. You’ve got yourself a cold holiday treat.
You can even reverse this and enjoy fruitcake ala mode. Top a slice of fruitcake with a scoop of your choice of ice cream flavor. Vanilla and chocolate are delicious, but I challenge you to make it an explosion of flavors. Try ube ice cream or cheese ice cream. It’s a fruity Christmas celebration in a bowl!
While these two tips are about adding flavor to the fruitcake to make it more palatable for you, here’s another tip on how to enjoy fruitcake in its own delicious glory. Fruitcake crisps, anyone? Slice the fruitcake very, very thinly. Make them extra-thin if you can! Bake the slices in your oven until they’re crisp. Now go nibble on them! This new crunchy, crisp texture can make you enjoy fruitcake more. It’s like you’re snacking on crackers. Since they’re sliced very thinly, you won’t get too much of the fruitcake taste. You’ll ease into its own deliciousness. Try it!
So before you turn your block of fruitcake into a doorstop, or pass on the fruitcake to another person, try these tips first! Cheesify it. Slather it with ice cream. Turn it into crisps. You may just fall in love with this holiday tradition before you know it!
Photo credit: Toni Tiu.