Aunt Ellen’s Fruit Cakes

Putting the finishing touches on a fruit cake

Fruit Cake? I’m not joking! Don’t give up on fruit cake until you’ve tried Aunt Ellen’s Fruit Cake. It’s full of sweet candied and dried fruit, marinated in cherry brandy then mixed with nuts and a spiced batter that’s baked to perfection. If you haven’t tried fruit cake, this is the one to try. If you are a fruit cake lover, then you’ll know that Aunt Ellen’s Fruit Cake is the best you have ever had!

four fruit cakes on a cooling rack
Aunt Ellen’s Fruit Cakes
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Rating: 5
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Full of sweet candied and dried fruit marinated in cherry brandy, then mixed with nuts and a spiced batter that's baked to perfection. This is why fruit cake is a holiday tradition that has lasted for centuries. If you haven't tried fruit cake, this is the one to try. If you are a fruit cake lover, then you'll know this is the best!
Servings Prep Time
75 Servings 1 1/2 hour
Cook Time Calories per Serving
3 hours 135
Servings Prep Time
75 Servings 1 1/2 hour
Cook Time Calories per Serving
3 hours 135
four fruit cakes on a cooling rack
Aunt Ellen’s Fruit Cakes
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Full of sweet candied and dried fruit marinated in cherry brandy, then mixed with nuts and a spiced batter that's baked to perfection. This is why fruit cake is a holiday tradition that has lasted for centuries. If you haven't tried fruit cake, this is the one to try. If you are a fruit cake lover, then you'll know this is the best!
Servings Prep Time
75 Servings 1 1/2 hour
Cook Time Calories per Serving
3 hours 135
Servings Prep Time
75 Servings 1 1/2 hour
Cook Time Calories per Serving
3 hours 135
This is What You Need
The Fruit
The Batter
This is What You Do
Prepare the Fruit
  1. The night before you make the Fruit Cake, chop the fruit into small pieces (about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch); Set some red and green cherries (sliced in half), some pineapple chunks and some pecans halves aside for topping the fruit cakes. Place the raisins and chopped fruit in a large bowl. Pour ½ cup cherry brandy over the fruit and toss well.
  2. Let the fruit and brandy mixture stand at room temperature overnight, stirring often to mix the fruit.
Other Preparation
  1. Prepare some 8 X 4 aluminum loaf pans (see Recipe Notes) by spreading a thin layer of shortening all over the inside, then lining each loaf pan with parchment paper or wax paper.
  2. Chop the nuts into small pieces (don't pulverize) and mix into the fruit and cherry brandy mix; set aside.
  3. Combine the flour, cinnamon, allspice, grated nutmeg and salt and sift all together into a bowl; set aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
Mix the Batter and Fruit
  1. Using a stand mixer, cream the softened butter or margarine until light and fluffy.
  2. With the mixer on a medium speed, add the brown sugar gradually, allowing the brown sugar and butter to completely combine before adding more brown sugar.
  3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the eggs one at a time. Make sure each egg is completely mixed in before adding the next egg.
  4. Keeping the mixer on low, add the sifted spiced flour to the butter and brown sugar mixture, a little at a time, making sure that it is all incorporated before adding more.
  5. Turn off the stand mixer and transfer the batter to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the fruit and nut mixture, a little at a time. Mix everything together well, then mix some more!
  6. Turn the mixture into the prepared loaf pans.
  7. Bake at 250 degrees for 2 ½ to 3 hours. The fruit cakes are done when a toothpick comes out clean, but slightly sticky. (see Recipe Notes)
  8. Cool the fruit cakes in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto cooling racks until fully cooled. This will take a few hours or can be cooled over night.
  9. To finish the fruit cake, poke several holes in the top of each with a tooth pick and pour a little cherry brandy over the fruit cakes slowly.
  10. Once the cherry brandy has been absorbed, individually wrap the finished fruit cakes tightly in plastic wrap (airtight) and store. These fruit cakes can be eaten right away or stored for a couple of months in the refrigerator or pantry, or can be frozen for several months.
Recipe Notes

This recipe says to marinate the chopped fruit in the cherry brandy for twelve hours....feel free to do it longer if you want. Just keep stirring it every few hours!

This recipe is easy to increase-just keep all the ingredients proportional.

Sifting the dry ingredients together, then adding the sifted, dry ingredients gradually will make sure that the delicious spices are distributed throughout all the batter.

This recipe will fill approximately five of the 8" x 4" X 2 1/2" loaf pans, or about 15 of the little 6" x 3 1/2" x 2" loaf pans. The little ones are the perfect size for gifts.  This is also great in larger loaf pans or the round  angel-food cake pans.

The cooking time is a good estimate and depends a lot on the size loaf pans you decide to use.   Check after about 2 hours-if they are done the cakes should be firm when you press down on them and just starting to pull away from the sides of the pans. Poke them with a tooth pick-if it comes out clean and just a little sticky, it's done! 

Make sure to wrap the fruit cakes tightly-start with plastic wrap then cover with aluminum foil. Make them airtight! They can be placed in freezer bags and stored for up to six months, either in the fridge or out. They can also be frozen for a year.

Nutrition Facts
Aunt Ellen’s Fruit Cakes
Amount Per Serving
Calories 135 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 8%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 17mg 6%
Sodium 98mg 4%
Potassium 76mg 2%
Total Carbohydrates 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 14g
Protein 2g 4%
Vitamin A 4%
Vitamin C 2%
Calcium 1%
Iron 3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Turkey Oyster Gumbo

Turkey Oyster Gumbo in a bowl with rice

This Turkey Oyster Gumbo is so good, you’ll want to make it even if you don’t have leftover turkey. But if you are looking for something to do with that leftover turkey, don’t miss this opportunity.  Oysters just seem a natural partner for turkey, whether its in a holiday stuffing or this delicious gumbo.  Try this no-angst recipe from Sweet Daddy D and you’ll see why it has become a Louisiana post-Thanksgiving tradition.

Turkey Oyster Gumbo in a bowl with rice, spoon and potato salad
Sweet Daddy D's Turkey Oyster Gumbo
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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This is the perfect way to use your leftover holiday turkey. Oysters and turkey just seem to go together in a wonderful way. Try this and you'll see why it has become a post-Thanksgiving Louisiana tradition!
Servings Prep Time
15 Servings 30 Minutes
Cook Time Calories per Serving
95 Minutes 254
Servings Prep Time
15 Servings 30 Minutes
Cook Time Calories per Serving
95 Minutes 254
Turkey Oyster Gumbo in a bowl with rice, spoon and potato salad
Sweet Daddy D's Turkey Oyster Gumbo
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
This is the perfect way to use your leftover holiday turkey. Oysters and turkey just seem to go together in a wonderful way. Try this and you'll see why it has become a post-Thanksgiving Louisiana tradition!
Servings Prep Time
15 Servings 30 Minutes
Cook Time Calories per Serving
95 Minutes 254
Servings Prep Time
15 Servings 30 Minutes
Cook Time Calories per Serving
95 Minutes 254
This is What You Need
Herb and Spice Blend
This is What You Do
  1. Pull the turkey meat from the leftover turkey carcass, chop into bite size pieces or shred, sprinkle on some creole seasoning and set aside. Measure out the flour and vegetable oil. Mix the Herb and Spice Blend in a small bowl and set that aside. Chop the vegetables and set aside. Chop the garlic and set aside in a small bowl. Drain the oysters in a strainer set over a bowl, but do not rinse. Place this in the fridge until needed. Reserve whatever oyster liquid you have.
  2. Place the turkey stock in a stock pot and start heating it on low. Keep it covered and on low so it does not reduce.
  3. Place a large cast iron frying pan over medium high heat, add the vegetable oil to the frying pan. When the oil is shimmering whisk in the flour to make a medium roux.
  4. As soon as the roux is dark enough add the veggies about half or a third at a time and stir to completely mix the veggies with the roux.
  5. Continue to cook over medium high heat, stirring frequently and scrapping the bits off the bottom, careful not to let it burn or scorch. This will take at least 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Add in the garlic and green onions and continue to cook until aromatic, usually a couple of minutes.
  7. Mix in about half the spice mix and the 2 bay leaves; a mix well and cook for another five minutes.
  8. Turn up the heat on the stock pot and bring the turkey stock to a rolling boil.
  9. Using a slotted spoon, mix in the veggie/roux mix, one spoonful at a time, stirring each spoonful until everything is blended and mixed with the stock, making sure it returns to a rolling boil in between each spoonful. Continue this, one spoonful at a time until all the veggie/roux mix has been added to the stock.
  10. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat slightly to a heavy simmer and maintain for about 15 minutes, uncovered. Then lower the heat to a simmer, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  11. After 30 minutes, uncover and add the turkey pieces a few at a time, stirring them into the stock in a similar fashion as you did the veggies, letting it come back to a rolling boil between each spoonful.
  12. Add a little more spice mix, stir well.
  13. Turn the heat down to low, cover the pot and simmer for about a 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  14. Uncover and bring to a heavy boil. Add the oysters, by hand, a few at a time, stirring before adding more. When all the oysters have been added, reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  15. Prior to serving, take a spoon and skim off the grease which has floated to the top. Give the gumbo a good stir then taste for seasoning-add a little more of the Herb and Spice Blend or some more salt and black pepper, if needed. If you want more oyster flavor, add some of the reserved oyster liquid. Remove the bay leaves and serve over rice with some potato salad and crispy french bread.
Recipe Notes

If you have time, making your own turkey stock makes this gumbo really great. Check out my recipe for homemade stock here.   If you don't have time to make fresh turkey stock, this recipe is still great if you use commercial turkey stock or substitute chicken stock.

If you don't have left over turkey, use some turkey breasts and thighs (about a pound total).

Many commercial creole seasoning mixes and commercial stocks contain high levels of salt. Make sure to adjust your added salt according to the creole seasoning.

Nutrition Facts
Sweet Daddy D's Turkey Oyster Gumbo
Amount Per Serving
Calories 254 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 20%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Polyunsaturated Fat 6g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 51mg 17%
Sodium 431mg 18%
Potassium 345mg 10%
Total Carbohydrates 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 3g
Protein 20g 40%
Vitamin A 7%
Vitamin C 30%
Calcium 6%
Iron 29%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Bechamel Sauce

Bechamel Sauce
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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This is one of the basic Mother Sauces which are the foundation for many dishes. It's oversimplied to say that this is just milk added to a blond roux, this thick sauce can easily be seasoned in so many ways that it becomes the building block for many wonderful dishes.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time Calories Per Serving
16Servings 10Minutes 20Minutes 54
This Is What You Need
Units:
This Is What You Need
Units:
This Is What You Do
  1. Warm the milk in a sauce pan or the microwave but don't let it boil. Set aside.
  2. In a large sauce pan over low heat, melt the butter until bubbly. Add the flour.
  3. Make a blond roux by whisking the flour and butter until smooth and thick but not browned, about 2 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat and slowly add the warmed milk, about 1/4 cup at a time, continue whisking until smooth, waiting until the milk is fully incorporated into the roux before adding the next 1/4 cup of milk.
  5. Once all the milk has been incorporated in this manner, add a pinch of salt and return the heat to low.
  6. Continue to whisk the sauce while on a low boil. The sauce will thicken the more you cook it. It is ready when the sauce is like thick cream and will coat the back of a soup spoon when dipped in the sauce.
  7. As an option, grate about 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg into the sauce.
Recipe Notes

For a thinner sauce, don't cook it long, for a thicker sauce, cook longer.

This recipe makes about 2 1/2 cups of sauce

This sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for a short while. To reheat, place over a low fire and whisk constantly until it reaches the desired consistency.

 

Nutrition Facts
Bechamel Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 54 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 6%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 11mg 4%
Sodium 64mg 3%
Potassium 48mg 1%
Total Carbohydrates 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0.1g 0%
Sugars 2g
Protein 1g 2%
Vitamin A 2%
Calcium 4%
Iron 1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.