"It's fruitcake weather!" You will recognize the familiar phrase if you are are fan of Truman Capote, or a are from the part of the country depicted in his famous story, "A Christmas Memory."
Right now, here in Central Florida, it's cool or cold enough to think about Christmas, and this is the time of year that we used to present the Truman Capote unit at my school. See the full text and listen to audio version read by Truman Capote himself:
Truman Capote Reading “A Christmas Memory” (Full Version):
In case you're interested, here's a fruitcake recipe. This is an expensive cake to make today. One can see why Buddy and "his friend" had work hard to save up to buy the ingredients for the long-laborious process:
Dark Fruitcake Ingredients:
2 ounces candied ginger, chopped fine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 pound candied citron, chopped fine
1/2 pound seedless raisins
1/2 pound golden seedless raisins
1/2 pound dried currants
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/4 pound candied orange peel, chopped fine
1/4 pound candied lemon peel, chopped fine
1/4 pound candied cherries, coarsely chopped (save 4 whole cherries for decoration, if you like)
1/4 pound shelled walnuts or pecans, finely chopped (save 8 halves for decoration, if you like)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup brandy or orange juice
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Finely grated rind of 2 lemons
2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound butter or margarine
1/4 teaspoon mace
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1. Preheat oven to 300 F.
2. Place all fruit mixture ingredients in a large bowl, toss well, cover, and let stand overnight at room temperature.
3. Grease, then line bottom of a 10-inch tube pan with wax paper. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
4. Sift together twice the flour, spices, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.
5. Cream butter until light, add sugar gradually, and continue creaming until fluffy.
6. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
7. Add to dry ingredients, about 1 cup at a time, beating just to blend. (Reminders: Unless you have an extra-large mixing bowl, you will have to transfer batter to a large kettle at this point.)
8. Mix in the fruit mixture.
9. Spoon batter into pan and, if you wish, decorate top with halved candied cherries and walnuts.
10. Place on center oven rack; half fill a roasting pan with water and place on rack below.
11. Bake, uncovered, 4-1/4 hours until cake shrinks slightly from sides of pan and a metal skewer inserted midway between edge and central tube comes out clean.
12. Cool cake upright in pan on wire rack 1 hour.
13. Carefully turn out, peel off wax paper, turn right-side-up, and cool thoroughly.
14. Wrap in brandy- or rum-soaked cheesecloth, then in foil, and store in an airtight container about 3 weeks to ripen.
15. If you wish to store the cake longer, sprinkle cheesecloth wrapping with 2-3 tablespoons brandy or rum at 3-week intervals.