Middle Eastern fruitcakes

Spread festive cheer from your kitchen with these beautiful Middle Eastern fruitcakes.
 
INGREDIENTS
 
  • Large pinch saffron strands
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 250g pitted dates, chopped
  • 150g dried figs, chopped
  • 150g dried cranberries
  • 150g pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 150g blanched almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1 orange, rind finely grated, juiced
  • 3 tablespoons rosewater or orange flower blossom
  • 6 green cardamom pods, seeds removed and finely ground
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 160g (1 cup) brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) olive oil
  • 150g (1 cup) plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
 
JEWEL TOPPING
 
  • 150g mixed glace fruit
  • 25g pistachios
  • 1 large orange, zested, juiced
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) honey

 

 

 

 
METHOD
 
Step 1
Preheat oven to 150C/130C fan forced. Line twelve 80ml (1/3 cup) muffin pans with paper cases. Place saffron and water in a bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes.
 
Step 2
Place dates, fig, cranberries, pistachio and almond in a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the saffron mixture, orange rind, juice, rosewater and cardamom. Set aside for 1 hour to develop the flavours.
 
Step 3
Use electric beaters to beat eggs, sugar and oil together in a bowl until pale and creamy. Sift over flour and baking powder. Beat until combined. Stir in fruit mixture until well combined. Divide among prepared pans.
 
Step 4
Bake for 45 minutes. Cover loosely with foil. Bake for a further 45 minutes or until firm and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
 
Step 5
Meanwhile, for the topping, combine glace fruit and pistachios in a bowl. Place zest, juice and honey in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes or until thick and syrupy. Pour over fruit mixture. Stir until well combined.
 
Step 6
Carefully spoon topping over the cakes. Set aside on a wire rack to cool completely.

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