Thursday, December 24, 2015

Countdown to Christmas 2 :This Goes with That

After preparing this Advent blog series, I am more convinced that there are many more stories about fruitcake still to be told, but here we are at  Christmas Eve already. If you have been following the blog, I am sure you are someone who enjoys a piece of  scrumptious fruitcake with a cup of tea or a cappucino, or a glass of wine. Culinary experts say that these days our palates are becoming more sophisticated and adventurous , and  contemporary food pairings are exciting challenges.  For me, a piece of my mum's fruitcake and a cup of Lady Grey is just as perfect a pairing as you can imagine. However,  foodie bloggers offer many more matches to explore:

Alcohol is obviously a tried and true partner of fruitcake :
A great opportunity to show off a sweet sherry or Madeira. A sweet oloroso sherry delicious with crumbly, rich fruit cakes as is a sweet 5 or 10 year old Madeira.... A richly flavoured whisky aged in sherry casks- can also be great with a fruit cake. As can a barley wine (strong, sweet beer).
There are those who will argue that a tawny port is the perfect accompaniment to a rich fruit cake, and there are of course thousands who will swear that a  strong red wine can't be beaten as a mate for fruitcake. Even a recipe for "Fruitcake French Toast" uses egg nog instead of milk to soak the bread.
Of course you could just combine the cake with the alcohol  for a cocktail....
What about food pairings? It has long been a tradition to eat cheese with their fruitcake in the United Kingdom. Of course, not any cheese! 
Of course it depends on the cheese. I certainly wouldn't enjoy a washed rind cheese like a Munster or a Stinking Bishop with a piece of cake but a mild hard English cheese like Wensleydale or Cheshire goes rather well. Or a creamy Stilton. .... Others recommend an old cheddar or parmesan or even blue cheese. 
I realise that a few of the following suggestions would hardly tempt the gourmet, but I have tried all of these and I think they make great pairings. 

1. Fruitcake and Ice cream - Just add chopped up fruitcake to softened vanilla ice cream. Add a few more nuts and glace cherries if preferred, and refreeze. A more sophisticated pairing of fruit cake and ice cream can result in a beautiful terrine.. This video shows you how easy it really is. 

 2. Yoghurt can also be used as a substitute for the ice cream in such desserts as parfaits - just your favourite yoghurt, mixed with blueberries, and topped with crumbled fruitcake.
3. Fruitcake Trifle is just another variation of   great pairings -fruit cake, with custard and jelly. 

I hope some of these ideas of great pairing with fruitcake might inspire you over the next few days to see the versatility of your Christmas cake.

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