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Friday, Oct 31, 2014
Food & Dining

For fans of fruitcake, THE recipe

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For 62 years, the Tampa Tribune has printed Lucille Harvey’s fruitcake recipe on the weekend after Thanksgiving.

Lore has it that Mrs. Harvey took second place in a newspaper-sponsored fruitcake contest in 1950, but that her recipe was so beloved that it spread across the country as the gold (and red and green and brown) standard for fruitcake flavors.

We continue to salute that tradition by offering this timeless classic yet again.

Then again, not everyone is a fan of fruitcake’s sticky and chewy textures.

For those who still love the flavors, if not the feel, of the holiday cake, I found recipes for Fruitcake Pie and bite-size Fruitcake Candy that honor the spirit of the traditional baked good.

Leftover requests

A. Domingo of Tampa wants to make date and walnut bars. The recipe she wants includes orange juice while cooking the dates for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Beth Mainello of Tampa wants to make the salad dressing that was made tableside at Tio Pepe’s restaurant in Clearwater. She also wants to know what type of lettuce was used.

Susan Stevens wants to make the spaghetti sauce and salad dressing recipes served at the now-closed Gus’ Italian restaurants in Tampa.

Eva Ebert wants the recipe for the mixed greens salad with vinaigrette and grilled chicken she used to enjoy at the now-closed El Pilon Restaurant in South Tampa.

Fruitcake Pie

Preparation time 20 minutes, baking time 35 minutes, not including cooling time. Makes 8 servings.

Pastry for single-crust pie (9 inches)

1 cup pecan halves, divided

¾ cup red candied cherries, divided

½ cup chopped dates

¼ cup chopped candied pineapple

6 tablespoons butter, softened

½ cup packed brown sugar

3 Eggland’s Best Eggs, lightly beaten

½ cup light corn syrup

¼ teaspoon each ground cloves, ginger and nutmeg

Line a 9-inch pie plate with pastry; set aside. Chop ½ cup pecans; set remaining pecan halves aside. Chop ½ cup cherries; halve remaining cherries and set aside. Combine the dates, pineapple and chopped pecans and cherries; sprinkle over crust.

In a small bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, corn syrup, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. Pour over fruit mixture. Top with the reserved pecan and cherry halves.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate leftovers.

Source: Taste of Home

Fruitcake Candy

Preparation time 30 minutes, cooking time 40 minutes; makes 2½ pounds

3 cups sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1 cup light cream

½ cup heavy whipping cream

2 teaspoons vanilla

1½ cups cashew pieces

1½ cups walnut pieces

1½ cups pecan pieces

2 cups candied cherries, cut in half

1½ cups chopped dates

1 cup chopped glace apricots

In a large saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, light cream, and heavy cream; mix well. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes until mixture starts to simmer, stirring frequently. Cover for 5 minutes to let steam wash crystals off sides of pan.

Uncover and reduce heat to medium-low. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan, making sure it doesn’t touch the bottom or pan sides. Boil until temperature reaches 234 degrees, a very soft ball stage.

Prepare the nuts and fruits while candy is cooking. When the mixture reaches 234 degrees, add the nuts and fruits; the mixture will be very thick. Spoon into buttered 13-by-9 pan, pressing down with buttered spoon so mixture is even. Cool completely; the mixture will become white and firm after about 24 hours. Cut into small squares. Store in airtight container.

Source: Linda Larsen, About.com

Recipes Lost & Found runs every other Sunday in Baylife. Seeking a recipe? E-mail jhouck@tampatrib.com, or write to Jeff Houck, The Tampa Tribune, P.O. Box 191, Tampa, FL 33601.

For more fun with cooking, watch Jeff chat each week with celebrity chefs and cookbook authors on the “Kitchen Party” video hangout on Google+.

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