Fruit cake—European style

Dried fruit and hazelnut cake

One of our blog posts that solicited a lot of response dealt with “shopping from the pantry” where the idea was to use up what we already had in stock rather than buying more from the grocery store. You may recall that it involved gelatin and tapioca, but not at the same time. Many of you will be relieved to know that since then we have cleared the shelves of anything that resembles a box of pudding or its relatives. It’s now time to move on to the freezer…or at least one of them.

I say one of them because we have four: one upstairs and three in the basement. We have that many because two are part of our upstairs/downstairs refrigerators, one is a standalone upright big enough for those sides of beef that go on sale, and the fourth has a special thermostat that turns it from a freezer to a lagering tank for making beer. We have all the bases covered.

So, last night I pulled bag after partially-used bag of currants and hazelnuts from the drawer of the kitchen freezer. I don’t know why we had so many open bags but it would have something to do with Bill’s baking. Oh, that reminds me, at one point we had about 100 pounds of flour downstairs but that’s now been reduced by ¾ if you don’t count the 10 pounds of cassava flour from Brazil. Well, it IS gluten free, a part of the Paleo diet, and it was 25 cents a pound—that’s why.

Anyway, in searching for a recipe  that would use these now-thawing ingredients I ran across a fruit and nut cake that lets you adjust the proportions based on what you have as long as it totals 6 cups between the fruit and nuts. The author said that there was only enough batter to barely hold the cake together and she/he was right as you can see in the accompanying photo.

As we were mixing the cake together to pour into the pan, it dawned on me that instead of typical American-style pecans and candied fruits we were using hazelnuts and currants that are generally more associated with Europe. Bill and I have talked a lot about how once we’re living in France we want to find new favorite foods to replace our preferences here. Even Heather isn’t exempt as we’ve switched her to mostly dry food, using canned food as a treat on top rather than the whole meal, since most dogs around the globe eat just crunchy kibble according to Planet Paws and from our own observations at pet food stores in Carcassonne.

Since Bill and I both enjoy a morning and/or afternoon coffee or tea break, this just-baked cake should be the perfect treat for us. In Carcassonne there are a few dozen sidewalk cafés within walking distance of our house so we should have plenty of options to find some new favorites!