This was my first experience with friendship foods that require a starter. At the time I was employed in a local bar/restaurant. One of our bartenders came in one night with an innocent enough looking cake. It was moist, sweet and had wonderful chunks of fruit in it – cherries, peaches, and pineapples. It was wonderful.
Now Eddie the barkeep was a quiet unassuming type of guy, but everyone loved the cake (it lasted like 10 minutes in the kitchen) and naturally we got around to asking about it. His wife had baked it and it was hard to make but if we were interested he would ask her for the recipe. Sometime in the next month he came to work bearing small margarine containers full of some pink syrupy liquid and a photocopy of the cakes recipe.
From how ‘dirty” the photocopy was you could tell it had been copied and re-copied forever. Eddie said he didn’t know anything about it but his wife Carol said the syrup was necessary. Opening the container you were immediately hit by the syrup’s boozish aroma. This stuff had some kick!
As far as these types of recipes go, the Freaky Fruit is a low maintenance recipe but will definitely require some time set aside for your baking day. It makes three cakes (they freeze really well for up to a year) but rarely last long enough to hit the freezer.
So this week I will explain how to get this rolling. Next week I'll explain how to inflict this on your friends. I mean share the bounty with others :)
You need a large glass jar. i typically hit up a local deli and ask for them. Most will give them to you or put a few aside with lids if you ask nice (oh and take them cake afterwards!)
In the large glass jar you must combine:
29 oz. can sliced peaches
24 oz. can pineapple chunks
29 oz. fruit cocktail
10 oz. maraschino cherries (halved)
2 Cups sugar (white, or raw etc.) No stevia, no splenda we want this fermenting!
and either: 1 1/2 Cups brandy or a PINCH of bakers yeast.
Stir well. In fact stir well once a day. As active fermentation ensues be sure to stir the mixture to release trapped CO2. You will do this every day for a month, every 10 days add 2 more cups of sugar. So day 10, 20 and the last day 30. You'll be adding 6 cups of sugar beyond the first two.
I have made this tons of times over the years. I have of course experimented. I have used all sorts of canned fruits. Apricots, pears etc. Just know that softer fruits if added early in the process will disintegrate by the 30 days. Like you can start with the pineapples, and apricots they always last. Pears add on day 20, use peach slices instead of dices (they also fall a part)
This gets REALLY REALLY boozy. Last time I made the fruit my work schedule changed and I had no time to bake so I drained the juice (made gluewine, but more on that later) and threw the fruit in a freezer bag. It would not freeze it had so much alcohol in (I always use the pinch of yeast method)
If your familiar with this cake I would love to see the recipes you used to make the cake, or other creative uses you have used the fruit for! Happy Fermenting! Next week the recipe, how to share and a printable to give away with your starters...