Published by
WQXR Features

Tiny Fruitcake Gems

Email a Friend

In America, fruitcake is so closely associated with Christmas that it almost becomes a necessary part of the celebration, even for those who don't like it! Here is a moist, flavorful, miniature version, which features more cake than candied fruit, that everyone loves. These gems keep for months, becoming ever more mellow, but they are also scrumptious right after baking. Get a head start on your holiday baking by making these in the fall. They are great for Thanksgiving feasts as well as Christmas and ship beautifully to loved ones who can't be home for the holidays.

unsifted cake flour without leavening 1/2 cup (dip and sweep method) 2.25 ounces 65 grams
ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon * *
salt 1/4 teaspoon * *
baking soda 1/8 teaspoon * *
dark brown sugar 1/4 cup (firmly packed) 2 ounces 60 grams
small mixed candied fruit 1/2 cup 2.25 ounces 64 grams
candied citron 2 tablespoons 1.25 ounces 35 grams
dried currants 1/4 cup 1.25 ounces 35 grams
pecan halves 1/4 cup 1 ounce 28 grams
Myers's dark rum 1/2 liquid cup 3.75 ounces 110 grams
unsalted butter 8 tablespoons 4 ounces 113 grams
1 large egg 3 tablespoons 1.75 ounces 50 grams
unsulfered molasses (preferably Grandma's) 1/4 liquid cup (use a greased liquid measuring cup 2.75 ounces 80 grams
milk 2 tablespoons 1 ounce 30 grams
pure vanilla extract 1 teaspoon * 4 grams
Optional: 6 red and 6 green glaced cherries, minced

Prepare at least two weeks before serving.

Equipment: reclosable gallon-size freezer bag; 1-3/4 inch fluted tartlet tins with 1 tablesppon capacity, sprayed with Baker's Joy or greased and floured and seet on a baking sheet (mini-muffin tins may also be used); ungreased cookie sheet.

Place 1 oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat over to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Set the tartlet tins on the baking sheet so they are not touching (use 2 baking sheets, if necessary, and rotate them during baking).

Foor Processor Method

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Whisk or stir in the brown sugar.

In a food processor with the metal blade, process the candied fruit, citron, currants, and pecans until they are finely chopped. Add 1/4 cup of the rum and process to combine. Cut the butter into a few pieces and add it with the motor running. Process until blended. Add the egg, molasses, milk, and vanilla extract and process until well blended, scraping the sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture and pulse in until incorporated.

Electric Mixer Method

Soften the butter. Finely chop the candied fruit, citron, currants, and pecans. Place the fruits and nuts in a small bowl and add 1/4 cup of the rum. Mix to combine. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda, then whisk together to combine evenly. In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and add the floud mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the molasses and milk. Add the candied fruit mixture with the soaking rum and the vanilla extract and beat until blended.

For Both Methods

Scrape the batter into the bag and close it securely. Cut off a small piece from one of the corners of the bag. Pipe the batter into the tartlet molds, filling them not quite full. (Fill the mini-muffin pans a little less than half full.)

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until the batter just begins to shrink away from the sides of the molds and the top spring back when lightly touched witha finger.

Unmold the gems onto greased or buttered wax paper or plastic wrap and sprinkle or brush the tops with the remaining rum. Set them so they are right side up and, if desired, place about 1/4 teaspoon of the minced glaced cherries in the center of each one. Cool completely.

When cool, wrap each little gem in a small piece of plastic wrap.

Store: In an airtight container at room temperature. They are delicious immediately after baking, but the rum mellows even more when allowed to riped for several weeks.

Keeps: Several months (at 4 months, they have the ideal flavor).

  • If you do not have enough tartlet molds to bake all the batter at one time, store the batter in the refridgerator and bake it in batches. Rinse out the molds after each batch and spray with Baker's Joy or grease and flous them. Baker's Joy contains both grease and flour and makes preparing these tiny fluted tins a breeze.