It’s the same every year: in late September or early October, Augsburg, Karlsruhe and Leipzig do their best to turn into Nice, with T-shirted people sitting in street cafes with Spritz or Flat White, and the man himself. On our brief visit to the supermarket, it was cold: gingerbread and dominoes? Where do they suddenly come from? Does it really have to be now?
However, the cold reality of logistics teaches us that it is never too early to start the Christmas madness. That doesn’t mean “Last Christmas” is a good idea before the fall holidays in an endless loop, as few people seem to think, figures from streaming services confirm. But in the kitchen, planning ahead is essential for all you cook. On a successful recipe. It has been delayed since the beginning of November.
For example, if you cook it yourself, it should be ready by now to let the Christmas aroma develop. Like many Christmas cookies, gingerbread is best with a little storage in a sealed tin. And now you can start making fruit bread. Because if allowed to sit for a few days, it’s one of the best things about pre-Christmas: aromatic, versatile (it tastes great for breakfast, too!), flexible, not as sweet as other pastries and – as opposed to stale – surprisingly easy to bake.
Fruit bread originates in the Alpine region, plays a special role in Bavaria, Tyrol and Northern Italy, the typical bread was seasoned with dried pears (kletzen) during Advent. In South Tyrol there are also light versions with apples. However, as prosperity grew, the list of ingredients grew longer and raisins, almonds, prunes, and even tropical fruits such as dates and figs made their way into the dough. Lemon peel and occasionally orange peel are added later. Traditionally, fruit bread was baked around St. Andrew’s Day on November 30 and eaten after Christmas Mass on St. Nicholas Day or Christmas Eve, depending on the region. In the meantime, however, this can be handled more flexibly. Also, because fruit bread is eaten only during the Christmas season and lasts for a long time.
Explorer Robert Falcon Scott’s fruit cake was found at the South Pole. 110 years old – and clean
For how long, that was in the recent past. National Geographic To read, as rare as a kitchen magazine; However, this year something was done differently for a more than 100-year-old fruitcake found by New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust staff in an Antarctic hut. It comes from the English company Huntley & Palmers and looks much better than the tin it was stored in, wrapped in parchment. The pastry is believed to have served as food for British explorer Robert Falcon Scott’s crew on the Terra Nova expedition to the South Pole (1910 – 1913). Part of the group, none of whom made it back to Europe alive, took refuge in a Cape Adare hut. New Zealand researchers report that fruitcake still looks (and smells) edible after 110 years. No one wanted to try it, but it’s not completely out of the ordinary. Despite the dry, frigid cold of Antarctica, caramelized fructose can be stored for a long time – and a trip to Munich’s local mountains is fun too.
Fruit bread is prepared quickly in your own kitchen. One of the most important steps is to choose the best quality ingredients. Spending a little more there, especially for nuts, is worth it. Even three or four samples of mustard from a cheap supermarket packet can spoil the results. Nuts, no matter what kind, can shorten the overall shelf life of baked goods, but they taste so good you’ll never want to do without them.
If you have the best ingredients, a good basic recipe will suffice for the time being. Mix 125 grams (preferably liquid) honey with four eggs and 2 teaspoons of rum until smooth. Mix 175g wholemeal spelled flour (alternatively whole wheat flour) with 1 heaping teaspoon baking powder and 2 teaspoons cinnamon, sift and mix until egg and honey mixture is smooth. From 175 g of hazelnuts, leave half whole (this is a matter of taste), chop 175 g of dried figs and 125 dates, cut 125 g of lemon peel into fine pieces and fold everything with 325 g of sultanas. To lift as evenly as possible into the dough. Pour the dough into a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake the fruit bread on a small shelf at 160 degrees (upper and lower temperature) for about an hour. Once cooled, cover with foil or seal in airtight Tupperware and store in a cool place.
Fruit bread should be stored for at least two to three days before cutting. It’s worth experimenting and improving, for example by adding new types of fruit or nuts. Or spices like anise, cinnamon, cardamom. Or soak the fruit in rum for a few hours.
The Antarctic Heritage Trust, which is in the process of restoring the Cape Adare hut, later announced that it would place Scott’s fruitcake and other original items there. It is also hoped that the cottage will attract more visitors. Fruitcake as a tourist attraction. Someone says Christmas cookies aren’t necessary again.