The following “Chew This!” column originally appeared in “The Courier-Times” and / or “The Shelbyville News”. Check their websites for further information and dates.
A Family Recipe from Janet Cullison
Can anyone else believe that Christmas will be here in just a few short months? I, personally, am still not over last Christmas! Time really flies when you get older, that is one thing for certain. Whenever I think of Christmas, especially Christmas in July, I start thinking about traditional foods and desserts and how I can somehow create a spin on the classics. Sweet potato casserole becomes something special when you add lots of lime juice to the sweet potato mixture and top it off with a brown sugar, butter and pecan crust! A classic apple crumble becomes something extraordinary when you replace the topping of the crumble with bits and shards of homemade sugar cookie dough! Turkey roasted at a higher temperature for a shorter amount of time, ham covered with Dr. Pepper and clove and roast beef served cold with a french buttery white sauce are all spins of some of everyone’s favorite classic dishes.
There is no dish, dessert or otherwise, more controversial than fruit cake. People have jokes, jabs and laughs they make about this centuries old dessert but let me tell you something, the recipe I am sharing here today will change your mind about the traditional classic fruit cake forever! This recipe is so good, I almost guarantee that after one bite of this truly fabulous dessert, you will never make, or eat, another fruit cake the same way again! There is no baking, hardly any measuring and you can literally make this weeks in advance! How fabulous does that sound? How did this recipe enter into my life? My dear friend and neighbor, Janette Cullison was kind enough to share the recipe with me! Her and her husband, Kenny, have been in my family’s life for as long as I can remember. Their son, Jake, and my brother, Damon, grew up together and have been best friends for years. Janette is one of the sweetest, nicest, most down to Earth person you could ever hope to meet! She is like me in that she loves to laugh, talk and does not seem to know a stranger! She has been there for my family and I countless times and I can not even begin to thank her for her friendship. I interviewed Janette virtually for this column, where she sent me her recipe and I am beyond grateful. Thank you Janette!
Evelyn’s Not Your Average Fruitcake, Fruitcake
The longer this fruitcake sits up, the better, so plan well in advance of when you would like to serve it.
Hi, Janette! Can you tell me more about your recipe for fruit cake?
Sure, I would love to! This is my mother-in-law‘s bakers fruit cake recipe and it is my husband Kenny‘s favorite Christmas dessert! I try and make one every year.
It is three sleeves of honey graham crackers crunched or food processed very fine like graham cracker crumbs, one jar of red maraschino cherries, cut in half, one bag of chopped dates and 22 large marshmallows cut in half. Don’t use the mini marshmallows because it doesn’t work. Put that all in a bowl and add a can of evaporated milk. Stir it all up and then take a loaf pan and line it with wax paper. Put your mixture in the loaf pan and spread evenly. The mixture will be fairly damp. Then fold over the wax paper and take another loaf pan and sit it on top of it and weigh it down with a can and place it into the refrigerator for at least a week. The longer it’s in there the better it gets! I’ve kept one of ours in the refrigerator up to three weeks! It’s not a normal fruitcake but it’s our favorite!
The recipe originally comes from Evelyn. She made this every year for Kenny’s family. There were 10 kids and 2 adults! Can you imagine how many of these she had to make?
Oh, and with this recipe, you can add half cup of chopped walnuts if you like. I never do, but my sister-in-law did.
Sounds delicious Janette! Thank you so much. I can not wait to share this with my readers!
Ask and Answer: I have had several people write to me and ask if I had tried the newest social media food trend called, “Stick of Butter Rice”. I have not but have several recipes based on the same concept to try. Have you tried this new food trend? If so, please drop me a comment!