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November 26, 2010

I promised myself I would never blog about fruitcakes

The only thing worse than a fruitcake is an evergreen essay about fruitcakes.

But a friend of my friends' showed up at a Thanksgiving open house with a fruitcake from Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana, TX. Her mother sends her one every year. The cake, and the bakery, are institutions.

The thing about this cake -- it's good! Not just good for a fruitcake, good for any cake. Spicy, and moist -- and I'm thinking that it's the fresh papaya that makes it so tasty. 

And so begins the Dining@Large Countdown to Christmas with a request for your favorite food-related holiday gifts (and stuff to bring to parties) to give and receive.



Posted by Richard Gorelick at 9:30 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Christmas


Pickled herring, gross, but i love it on rye toast.
Specthugen (bread dough stuffed with chopped bacon and onion, baked), always a winner (if you don't keep kosher and or vegetarian)
Yule Log: chocolate upon chocolate coffee cream goodness.

I am not a fan of fruitcake, but my father is. He even likes the cheapo bars of cake that one can buy at the drug store for a couple of bucks. Last year I decided to bake one for him using a cranberry quickbread recipe as the base and loading it with all of the regular fruitcake stuff, including those plasticky candied cherries and pineapple. And it was terrific - even I ate a big slab of it.

This year I may experiment with using a different base - maybe gingerbread. Fruitcake doesn't have to be awful.

I have never ever bought a fruitcake, but I did accept a sample sliver from Atwater's last year and it was very good.

Since the most important ingredient in a good fruitcake is the pecans, I have always been a fan of the version from the Claxton bakery in Georgia. Until recently I used to get one from my bank -- some kind of charity fundraiser. I even have a souvenir mug from them that I use only at Christmas time. A couple of years ago I tried making a batch, but discovered that it was more costly to bake one than to buy one.

I have traditionally made biscotti to give away to friends and family for Christmas.

Though no one bakes them anymore, the standard Christmas cookies in our extended family were "rocks."

I loved Collin Street Bakery fruitcakes as a kid and my mom has been buying me one almost every year since I moved out. It's only when I taste other fruitcakes that I realize why the genre has such a poor reputation. Strange that so many are so bad.

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About this blog

You are reading the archives. For updated blog posts about the Maryland food scene, see Richard Gorelick's new Baltimore Diner blog.
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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