Friday, August 16, 2013

Fruit Cake/Tart

 by Ann

I was in a quandary as to the title of this recipe.  When I first learned how to prepare it many, many years ago in a cooking class at our local community college the instructor called it a fruit tart.  I have since grown to love tarts because of their rich, dense, almost cookie-like crust, which this recipe does not have.  Yet I hate to call it a fruit cake, lest you have visions of a nearly inedible holiday loaf with dried fruit.  Instead the base is a basic jelly roll cake prepared in a Mary Ann cake pan (one with fluted edges and an indentation for filling).  Regardless of what to call it, the dessert is fabulous!  

It had been years since I'd prepared it, and when reflecting upon why I hadn't made it for so long, it comes down to the fact that it's a lot of work and really needs to be eaten up the day it is prepared, so it is something that is reserved for special occasions.  My turn to host book club gave me an excuse to bust out the Mary Ann pan!

After preparing it, another reason that I don't get in gear to make this recipe often came to mind -- Lots of dishes to wash.  The cake needs to be prepared with two different mixing bowls, as does the pudding.  (That's four bowls, multiple beaters, and everything else involved to wash!) Whine... whine.... whine... Back to the good stuff...
Here's the prepared pan that has been very generously greased and floured -- If you don't have one, Google Mary Ann cake pan and you'll have lots of options.
The first of the two-mixers at once adventure... Egg whites in the Kitchen Aide and yolks, sugar, oil, water, and vanilla in with the portable.
The yolk mixture (with flour and oil) must be carefully folded into the yolks.  
When the baked cake comes out of the oven it's a bit puffy.  Because the pan is so shallow the cake only cooks for 12-15 minutes.
Whew!! It released from the pan.  Not sure if the variation in color is due to parts sticking on the pan, or not folding well enough.  Regardless, it was delicious.
The second round of the two-mixer requirement. Whipping cream in the Kitchen Aide, instant vanilla pudding and half of the called for on the package milk using the portable mixer.

Ok -- Let's make that pudding worth eating!  Add 3 tablespoons of Grand Mariner.  Simply amazing...

Now the fun begins.  Pile the whipped topping in the center of the cake and lightly place a decorative arrangement of colorful fruit.

Be sure the fruit is as dry as possible.  After rinsing the berries I dried them on paper towel, and if you look close you can see that the sections of Mandarin orange are also having extra moisture absorbed.

Once all of the arranging is done, it's time to glaze for a beautiful golden finish.  I have never seen apricot jelly, but can easily find the jam.  If that's all you can find just strain it through a fine mesh sieve.  Keep the bits for toast later!

With a silicone brush carefully dab and brush the glaze over the fruit, being careful not to pull the pudding up with the brush.  Mmmmm.....

(I have heard back from some people that my links don't work on their machines.  Sorry!  I'm doing the best I know how!!  You can always copy/paste the below recipe into a document if it won't work for you.)
Fruit Cake/Tart
Cake ingredients:

3 large eggs
1 c flour
1 c sugar
1 t baking powder
¼ t salt
1/3 c water
1 T oil
1 t vanilla

Grease and flour a 10” MaryAnn pan (fluted with a depression for filling).
Separate the eggs and allow to temper to room temperature.  
Beat 1/3 c sugar into the yolks until they are thick and lemon colored.
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.  Add to the egg yolk mixture along with the water, oil, and vanilla, beat well.
In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Very slowly add the remaining 2/3 c sugar until a thick meringue is formed.
Gently fold egg white and egg yolk mixtures together until well blended.
Spread evenly into prepared pan and bake at 375° for about 12-15 minutes.  Cool for five minutes and then invert onto serving plate.

Pudding and finishing ingredients:

½ pint whipping cream
1 large box instant vanilla pudding
1 ½ c milk (½ of milk called for on package)
3 T Grand Mariner

Variety of small colorful fruits (berries, kiwi, grapes, mandarin oranges)
apricot jelly (if available, if not, use jam pressed through a strainer)


To make the pudding, chill bowl and beaters.  Whip ½ pint of whipped cream until stiff.  In separate chilled bowl mix a large package of instant vanilla pudding with ½ of the milk that the instructions call for.  Mix on high speed for only one minute.  Combine the two bowls of ingredients and Grand Mariner slowly running the beaters through just enough to gently combine.

Mound the pudding in the center of the cake.  Decoratively arrange a colorful combination of fresh and well drained canned fruits on top of the pudding.  Lightly brush a layer of apricot glaze over the fruit, pudding mixture being sure to avoid getting pudding on top of the fruit.

Note:  This cake is best eaten the day it is put together.