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Gingered Fruitcake

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Servings: 8-10
Like the best of fruitcakes when alcohol is added (in this case Grand Marnier or other orange flavored liqueur), this delicious gingered fruitcake with dates, raisins, pecans, pistachio nuts and a hint of orange zest must be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and then with aluminum foil, then stored in an airtight container for at least 3 days before serving.

This cake makes a lovely Christmas gift. Makes several and give to friends and family as an extra special treat for the holiday season.

1 cup crystallized ginger, diced
1 cup dates, pitted and cut into thirds
1 cup pecans, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup roasted pistachio nuts, shelled and halved
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick/4 oz./113g) unsalted butter
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp. grated orange zest
3 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Whole ginger pieces, dates and pecan halves for garnish
1/4 to 1/3 cup Grand Marnier (or other orange flavored liqueur of your choice)

Have all the ingredients at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F/160 degrees C. Grease and flour a 7-inch springform pan or 7-cup tube or bundt pan.

In a bowl, stir together the crystallized ginger, dates, pecans, pistachio nuts and raisins until blended. Set aside.

Over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating until the mixture is fluffy, then add the orange zest.

Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk and vanilla and ending with the flour, until smooth and no lumps of flour remain. Then fold in the ginger, date, nut and raisin mixture; do not overmix. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top with a spatula, and decorate with the ginger pieces, dates and pecans.

Bake until the cake is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 1/4 hours. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for about 20 minutes. Set the rack over a sheet of waxed paper and invert the cake onto the rack.

While the cake is still warm, insert a thick skewer through the top in 6 to 8 places and fill the holes with Grand Marnier. Wrap the cake tightly with plastic wrap and then with aluminum foil. Store in an airtight container for at least 3 days before serving.

Makes 8-10 servings.

Date: December 3, 2007

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