When you’re passionate about something, I think it’s pretty normal to get to the point where you crave the high quality tools. You can start off with WalMart ice skates, but they’re not going to get in you into the NHL, y’know?
I grew up in a very thrifty family, so I don’t take expenditures lightly. We didn’t have expensive cookware, nor did we invest in unnecessary appliances like quesadilla makers (seriously, I saw one in the store last night. What a joke! That’s akin to a contraption whose sole purpose is to “hard boil an egg with greater ease”).
These days, I’m into those lifetime investment pieces. The way I see it is, you pay more upfront and then you have something nice for (hopefully) the rest of your life. The world needs less disposable crap! Recently, I bought a big Le Creuset Stockpot and a set of Emile Henry mixing bowls (the red ones you see below). It was hard making the transition to spending over a hundred bucks, but these things have been worth every penny! My ultimate kitchen desire is a classic Aga cooker in cherry red!
The most recent addition to my stable of permanent kitchen companions is this Le Creuset casserole dish. I though it would be fun to do a seasonal cookalong recipe using this very dish so, if you have one too, you can join in! We’ll do the next one sometime in the Spring. I’m sure you can modify the recipe to fit another baking dish, but, as you’ll see, this recipe is tailored to the dimensions of my dish.
Mary’s Fruit Cake is a lighter-hued version of the fruit cake you’d expect at Christmas. I was shocked to see Billy eating it – and not even at gunpoint! He’d definitely turn his nose up at grandma’s muddy fruit cake.
Preheat the oven to 150°c (fan) or 160°c standard | 300°F (fan) or 325°F (standard) | Gas Mark 3
- 3 cups of mixed dried fruit
- 3 cups of can crushed pineapple (drained)
- 1/3 cup of glacé cherries, halved
- 1/2 cup of butter or margarine
- 3/4 cup of soft brown sugar
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- good pinch salt
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1.25 cup of plain flour
- 1.25 cup of self raising flour
- 2 medium eggs, beaten
STEP ONE: Line the casserole with a pre–shaped 8 inch deep cake tin liner, or line with greaseproof paper.
STEP TWO: Put the first six ingredients into a mixing bowl and microwave on high power for 3 minutes. Or, if you don’t have a microwave (I don’t use one), place them in a saucepan and heat gently just until the butter is melted.
STEP THREE: If you’ve heated the ingredients on the stove, transfer them to a mixing bowl. Mix well.
STEP FOUR: Add the remaining ingredients then mix again.
STEP FIVE: Transfer the batter to the lined casserole and level the top (decorate with a few blanched almonds if it’s going to be a plain fruit cake).
STEP SIX: Cook below the centre of the oven for approximately 1¼–1½ hours, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out cleanly.
STEP SEVEN: Cool in the casserole for 10–15 minutes then turn out and cool thoroughly. I like the way it’s a very deep cake – the fruit looks like jewels against the golden cake.
Voila! Your secret weapon to convert fruitcake haters.
If you like the idea of a cookalong, maybe we can do more using other high-quality bakeware. Let me know what you think!