Portland fruitcake/marmelade meetup?
posted November 21, 2013 7:27 AM   RSS | iCal | +googleCal

Sat December 14 at 1:00 PM, janell's
5504 North Syracuse Street, Portland, OR, USA (Map & Directions)
At the pickle meet up we came up with other things we could make as a group, such as fruitcake and marmalade. Is anyone interested in this before the holidays?
I usually make Alton Brown's free range fruitcake recipe 3-4 weeks before I give them as presents. I was thinking about doing a cognac/bourbon blend this year.

Marmalade recipe TBA.

Plus figgy pudding!

spreadsheet for stuff
posted by fiercekitten to Meetup (74 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

posted by Secretariat at 8:10 AM on November 22, 2013

Sure yeah.
posted by janell at 9:07 AM on November 22, 2013

I mean, cortex would be furious if I had an opportunity to make a fruitcake and didn't take advantage of it.

I have made a few weird marmalades, but not enough to have a favorite recipe. It's pretty easy to make.
posted by Secretariat at 10:33 AM on November 22, 2013

I am a fruitcake fan. I see that Alton Brown wisely eschews those glace cherries which is good.
posted by vespabelle at 11:57 AM on November 22, 2013

I love making that fruitcake recipe!

Any ideas on how to divide up ingredients? The dried fruits get really expensive.
posted by homodachi at 12:02 PM on November 22, 2013

For dried fruits, the cheapest I've found is from TJ's - they used to have a blueberry/cherry/cranberry mix that is pretty close in proportion to the recipe. I haven't checked lately so don't know if they still have it. We could each bring our fruits?
posted by fiercekitten at 5:24 PM on November 22, 2013

What if we first determine how many batches of the we would plan to make? For those who have made the recipe, do you usually make mini-fruitcakes from this recipe? If so, how many does it make?

I don't have any holiday plans that center around fruitcakes, so if I get some fruitcake at all, I'll be happy. Or I can just help others make fruitcake!

If it turns out we're making a bunch, maybe the big bags of dried fruit at Costco would be a good deal cost wise? (I don't know how much they cost).
posted by Secretariat at 7:30 PM on November 22, 2013

Interested! If we do marmalade, I have a bunch of jam jars I bought after the pickle day, planning for further canning projects that I never got around to doing.
posted by dorey_oh at 8:45 PM on November 22, 2013

I can swing by Costco and see what they have fruits-wise otherwise we may have to go with marmalade.
posted by fiercekitten at 9:07 AM on November 23, 2013

Costco has 20 oz packages of dried cherries for 7.99 and 20 oz packages of blueberries for 8.99. They also have giant bags for dried apricots for 9.99. I would estimate the cherries to be around 4 cups of cherries and the blueberries a little more than that.

The recipe linked above makes 3-4 small gift sized loaves or 1 regular size loaf. TBH I think the gift loaves are enough for anyone except the most dedicated fruitcake lover.
posted by fiercekitten at 1:17 PM on November 23, 2013

I'd floated an idea, back at pickling time, of hosting a fruitcake-making event up here in Olympia, but on mature reflection asking people to drive 100 miles up here in winter (probably rainy, possibly icy, definitely dark by 4 pm) just doesn't seem like a good idea. I'd still love to have an Oly meetup, but probably in summer.

However, depending on the date, I'd love to come down to PDX for this. My own favorite holiday baked thing is Figgy Pudding a la All Things Considered, (scroll down) which is more like a steamed pudding but is otherwise quite similar to fruitcake. I could bring some more dried fruit, as well as the alcoholic ingredients.
posted by Kat Allison at 4:45 PM on November 23, 2013

Kat, that peach chutney was so good- so I completely trust your judgement on other things that are good! The Figgy Pudding cooks on the stovetop, it sounds like? So we could cook fruitcake in the oven and pudding on the stovetop.

And... yeah, I'm still up for a Olympia meetup sometime, but it sounded like a lot more fun in the longer days of summer.

Although- I don't know if I should even be opining on this meetup. I wouldn't want to do it until after 12/10, the date of my last final for this quarter at PSU. Fiercekitten, would that be too late for fruitcake, if you're wanting to give them as gifts around the 25th? (personally, I'm terrible at gifts and will probably be giving gifts on through to early January, as I manage to catch up with people- so it's not a problem date-wise for me.)
posted by Secretariat at 11:37 AM on November 24, 2013

I will bring whatever I'm told to (or I'll sign up if we go with a spreadsheet as we did for the pickles). Or just pony up funds for whomever shops. It sounds like we need quite a fleet of gift-loaf or baby-bundt pans.

It would be easiest for me to play if we do this on the weekend of Dec 14/15th (or after the new year). I'm not above sending Groundhog Day fruitcakes. :) I could host in either case, too, if that helps.
posted by janell at 10:19 AM on November 25, 2013

The fruitcakes are dead-easy, really. I was looking at recipes for marmalade and the thought of zesting and juicing 2 dozen oranges alone does not appeal. The canning army was so efficient at cutting beans and cucumbers for pickles, maybe we should harness its powers again for zest?
posted by fiercekitten at 5:48 PM on November 25, 2013

Holidays being what they are, December is kind of high-pressured and hard to plan for; it does seem difficult to schedule something at this point that would allow for ample fruitcake-ripening time prior to Christmas. Just speaking for myself, I'm really more interested in a get-together that focuses on collective/collaborative cooking--chopping, zesting, juicing, baking, steaming, jarring, whatever--along with mellow low-key social interaction; I'm more enthusiastic about the process than the product. At the same time I realize people tend to be crazy-busy this time of year and may well find it stressful to add one more thing into their roster of Social Obligations.

So, anyway, I'm glad to drive down and participate in whatever works best for others, while at the same time prioritizing overall mental health for those who have extensive demands on their time/energy at this time of year.
posted by Kat Allison at 8:52 PM on November 25, 2013

I'm ok with doing either fruitcake or marmalade in December, but I also I second the "more enthusiastic about the process than the product".

Marmalade is also super easy except for the zesting part. We could probably chill out and chat while microplaning some citrus. When I've done it in the past I put on a podcast and zone out while zesting.

If either 12/14 or 12/15 works for enough people, should we just pick one of those days and declare that we'll get together, and decide where to meet and what to make (if anything) second?

P.S. 12/14 is the 2nd annual Humbug Fest. If we were baking or cooking something at Janell's place or my place, and not too exhausted from the process, we could pretty easily bike, bus, or carpool to some holiday beers and german food post-cooking.
posted by Secretariat at 8:13 PM on November 26, 2013

Either the 14th or 15th works fine for me, and I'd totally be happy to make whatever others would prefer. (I've never made marmalade before, and it'd be fun to learn how!)
posted by Kat Allison at 3:23 PM on November 27, 2013

14 or 15 is fine for me, too. Have microplane, will travel! And yeah, good w fruitcake or marmalade.
posted by dorey_oh at 10:03 PM on December 2, 2013

Oh, and if we're leaning towards marmalade, my pickling book has those recipes, too. I'll take a look through.

For fruitcake, I will happily stir or chop, have no recipes to offer.
posted by dorey_oh at 10:06 PM on December 2, 2013

OK, I'm going to set this for the 14th. I'll see if I can make a Google doc so we can figure out how many oranges and stuff we need.

Where should we do it?
posted by fiercekitten at 7:16 AM on December 3, 2013

lame spreadsheet for tracking
posted by fiercekitten at 7:26 AM on December 3, 2013

I don't see any reason we can't make both. How hard can marmalade be?

I'm fine to host this. I can provide a large oven and plenty of stovetop space for cooking marmalade and heating the canner. That said, it might be more pleasant to have the canner outside (or at least out of the kitchen) if someone wants to bring one of those propane burners from the pickling meetup.

I don't have a super large stash of paring knives and planes, so people should probably BYOTools (and little cutting boards, perhaps, too) to prep all the fruit and zest.
posted by janell at 11:31 AM on December 3, 2013

Oh, "both" could be "all three" ...I forgot about the Figgy Pudding.
posted by janell at 11:38 AM on December 3, 2013

Let's do it! 14th, janell's place! I can bring a camp stove, but it won't be quite as intense and fast heating as that gas burner we had for the pickles. I can also bring Kat Allison's metal table. I'll look and see what I have for marmalade recipes- I think I'd like to do a classic, orange marmalade. Last year I made "strawberry lemonaide marmalade" and "ruby red grapefruit marmalade", and they were good, but a little weird. The grapefruit one is good on crackers with cheese, though.
posted by Secretariat at 4:31 PM on December 3, 2013

where does Janell live again?
posted by Colonel Panic at 6:48 PM on December 3, 2013

I updated the location and set the time for 1pm, but we can make it earlier or later.
posted by fiercekitten at 9:55 PM on December 3, 2013

What do the spreadsheet columns for "fruitcake" and "pudding" mean? Should there be a marmalade column? Is this what you hope to take home from a meetup?
posted by Secretariat at 11:06 AM on December 4, 2013

I made that on my tablet and it kept making the columns disappear so I wasn't sure that it was typing. Feel free to edit - I was trying to get an idea of how many people would want to make figgy pudding or fruitcake.

Planning fail.
posted by fiercekitten at 6:08 PM on December 4, 2013

How many batches of each thing do we expect to make? I like the do-you-want-to-make-this polling in the spreadsheet, but maybe we also just need to publish a list and let people sign up to bring (quantity of) $ingredient or $tool (jars, loaf pans?).
posted by janell at 8:29 PM on December 4, 2013

Ok, got it, makes sense now. I tried to edit the spreadsheet from my phone earlier and had terrible luck, so I know what you were dealing with.

Fruitcake: I would be good with one or maybe even a half recipe of fruitcake.

Marmalade: I'd like one or two jars of marmalade. More would be ok too- it's a good wintery gift.

Figgy Pudding: would we make mini puddings, or slice up a big one? I kind of like the idea of having one of these for christmas day, but I sure wouldn't need a full sized one! Or we could just make one and eat it, unless they improve with age.
posted by Secretariat at 9:01 PM on December 4, 2013

I'd like to come away with at least a jar or two of marmalade, and some pudding to take home.

We could definitely make mini-puddings, and I'd be glad to bring some of those little recyclable aluminum loaf pans to use. Cooking surface space may be a consideration, since the pudding and the canning will both require burners, but if we have a campstove that could certainly help.

I'd be glad to bring ingredients for the figgy pudding; there's very little prep work involved, unlike the marmalade, so maybe we could mix up batter and then let them steam while doing the zesting, etc.

Oh, and in response to Secretariat's question on the spreadsheet, we not only can, but must, set the puddings on fire! (If that makes anyone either more enthusiastic or more trepidatious.)
posted by Kat Allison at 1:22 PM on December 5, 2013

Meant to add-- the mini-pans could also be used for fruitcake, if anyone wants to make that. I'm more interested myself in marmalade and pudding, but would be glad to help with fruitcake-making.
posted by Kat Allison at 1:25 PM on December 5, 2013

There are six burners on my stove, but the way back corner isn't accessible if the canner is in front of it. Let's say 4 burners for pudding/marmalade (+ the canner using 5th and obstructing 6th). The camp stove will probably make things more pleasant/spread out.
posted by janell at 4:16 PM on December 5, 2013

I think I'm out. But I am happy to loan my burner out if it's needed in exchange for one tiny little fruitcake or pudding.
posted by vespabelle at 6:05 PM on December 6, 2013

Holy cow that's walking distance. We'll come! What needs bringing?
posted by aniola at 9:25 PM on December 6, 2013

I put a link to the tracking spreadsheet in the main part of the event. I've already made my fruitcake so I'm really in it for the marmalade now.
posted by fiercekitten at 9:47 AM on December 8, 2013

I don't need to make fruitcake at this meetup if others aren't into it- I can make a small batch on my own time. Just let me know what you all think before next thursday (I was planning a trip to Costco) so I don't go spending a bunch of money on dried fruit that nobody wants!
posted by Secretariat at 10:51 AM on December 8, 2013

I actually would like to make fruitcake as a shared project so I can end up with the tiniest possible cache of fruitcake.

I'll give you cash on Saturday if you're going shopping for the bits.
posted by janell at 4:33 PM on December 9, 2013

dang, I'll be out of town. one day I'll make it to a make-stuff meetup!
posted by homodachi at 9:25 AM on December 10, 2013

I actually would like to make fruitcake as a shared project so I can end up with the tiniest possible cache of fruitcake.

Haha! I made 11 this past weekend!
posted by fiercekitten at 6:01 PM on December 10, 2013

Looking at recipes, it is borne in upon me that ingredients for fruitcake and figgy pudding are very similar, and so I'll bring some quantities of the main items (dried fruit, spices, brandy/rum, etc.) that would work for either one (have updated spreadsheet accordingly). Then we can see what people are up for on Sat., or what's going to work best with the stove set-up.
posted by Kat Allison at 12:36 PM on December 11, 2013

Meant to add for Secretariat: if I bring enough dried fruit for, say, one or two Alton Brown fruitcake recipes, and you're also getting about that same amount at Costco, we should be covered for maybe --[struggling with mental quantity conversions] -- I dunno, maybe 8-10 of the little mini pans? Memail me if you want to coordinate purchasing. (I was going to make a Trader Joe's run tomorrow or Friday.)
posted by Kat Allison at 12:41 PM on December 11, 2013

Marmalade: Ok- here are some marmalade recipes from The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving. I've included recipes for Seville Orange, Grapefruit, and Five Fruit (which I think sounds pretty interesting). I also scanned the table of contents- let me know if you want to see the ingredient list for any others. They all sound pretty interesting.

I've made the grapefruit before, but it does turn out fairly bitter. I'm interested in orange, but I forgot that marmalade is traditionally made with Seville Oranges, which might be difficult to find, or expensive? We could just try normal oranges.

Fruitcake: I think I will buy non-costco sized amounts of the dried fruits, since we don't have a need to produce in bulk. I think aiming for 8-10 mini pans sounds good. I'll probably just throw a bunch of the other ingredients (flour, sugar, spices, whatever eggs and butter I have in the house, etc) in a tub and haul them over- we'll probably end up with duplicate ingredients, but that's ok, I'll just take them back home at the end of the day.

For the fruitcake, what I don't have covered at all is apple juice, rum/brandy, or pecans.
posted by Secretariat at 5:15 PM on December 11, 2013

The Five Fruit marmalade looks great, Secretariat. And easier than sourcing the Seville oranges for the traditional style. How many batches of the marmalade will we aim for? I'm happy to buy and bring citruses as needed.

I can't get to the spreadsheet from my work computer - will try to take a look at it tomorrow and mark what I can bring. I do have 2 dozen 12(?) oz jam jars with rings and lids. Oh, and pecans - have a new bag of those from Costco. Does it matter if it's apple juice or apple cider? I've got a couple bottles of Trader Joe's cider already.
posted by dorey_oh at 11:13 PM on December 11, 2013

Is one of the other venues still available? My house is in the middle of an unexpected plumbing fiasco. My kitchen is a-ok, but I think we would all be happier playing somewhere else.
posted by janell at 11:05 AM on December 12, 2013

Any recommendations for rum/brandy? I will collect some.
posted by janell at 11:52 AM on December 12, 2013

Coming down with a cold. Attendance now unlikely.
posted by mimo at 1:22 PM on December 12, 2013

Brandy acquired. And there's various rum around.

And, importantly, my plumbing is expected to be functional (albeit not beautiful) in time. So we don't need a venue change at this point.
posted by janell at 4:55 PM on December 12, 2013

Yay for plumbing! Having plumbing is the best.

The 5 fruit marm. claims to make 6 cups. If we are 7-10 people, each hoping to take home an 8oz jar, we should make at least 2 batches (most things I have made out of this book seem to come out pretty close to the yield listed, sometimes less, so far never over). If we're going to mostly have jars bigger than 8oz, we should maybe plan to make 3 batches to make sure everyone should get a jar. (That's assuming that this recipe sounds good to everyone- if not, we could do one batch of this, and a batch of something else.
posted by Secretariat at 5:47 PM on December 12, 2013

Oh, and for the apple juice, the recipe calls for "unfiltered apple juice", so to me it seems like cider is just right.
posted by Secretariat at 5:48 PM on December 12, 2013

A double batch of the Alton Brown recipe makes 10-11 mini loaves. I have bourbon too, if someone wants to try that on a cake or two.

I will bring citrus for a batch of marmalade and tools.
posted by fiercekitten at 6:36 PM on December 12, 2013

I bought enough fruit for 2 fruitcake batches (well, some of it I found hiding in my pantry already), and costs were not significant enough for anyone to need to pay me back. Plus, everything looks delicious, so hopefully I'll have some left over to put in my oatmeal.
posted by Secretariat at 3:45 PM on December 13, 2013

With all this talk of sweet things, siblatorix and I decided to bring savory snacks. We'll be bringing a bean dip, a yogurt dip, and some bread.
posted by aniola at 11:52 PM on December 13, 2013

Checked my jars - they are 8 oz, not 12 oz. Bringing 2 dozen. Will pick up citruses for a batch of marmalade on my way out of town.

Still haven't been able to open the spreadsheet. If we're missing anything, maybe someone could post it here?
posted by dorey_oh at 9:41 AM on December 14, 2013

The only thing I can see a problem with is the number of loaf pans. It looks like we'll have about 8 which might be OK. I made 11 and two of them were a little short.
posted by fiercekitten at 10:43 AM on December 14, 2013

I have a couple small loaf pans I can bring, so that should be okay.
posted by dorey_oh at 11:32 AM on December 14, 2013

Turns out I have no eggs in the house- is somebody else able to bring eggs?
posted by Secretariat at 12:19 PM on December 14, 2013

I got a dozen eggs (and a pile of backup butter) this morning and have a few already. I have 20 8oz jars in the way now, have a handful of 12s downstairs if we need them.

A buddy of mine proposed muffin-shaped fruitcakes which seems like a good idea. I think we can kludge the pan situation.

Now I am going to actually read these recipes.
posted by janell at 12:48 PM on December 14, 2013

Is someone bringing a baguette or other fresh white breadcrumbs?
posted by janell at 12:52 PM on December 14, 2013

I found 2 more small square pans, and I'll be heading over in a minute. I really have a whole box of stuff I'm bringing, so I'm pretty sure we're going to have most everything. (I don't have breadcrumbs, though.)
posted by Secretariat at 12:57 PM on December 14, 2013

We can bring a frozen stale bread which blends into breadcrumbs. We are bringing bread but for eating today :D
posted by aniola at 1:19 PM on December 14, 2013

We're just waiting on the beans to finish up and will walk over shortly.
posted by aniola at 1:19 PM on December 14, 2013

That was awesome! Thanks, everybody.
posted by Secretariat at 7:14 PM on December 14, 2013

Thanks for the field trip to the looms! The official word on the fruitcake is "very tasty."
posted by aniola at 7:49 PM on December 14, 2013

It's the king of fruitcakes.
posted by fiercekitten at 8:19 PM on December 14, 2013

I put mine in a ziplock bag, on top of the fridge, under a box. I'll check on them every few days. Do you think that will work for aging? That seemed like a good way to not forget about them.

Also, I brought a partial bag of apricots, and went home with a full, unopened bag of apricots. Either magic is real, or I have somebody else's apricots?
posted by Secretariat at 9:47 AM on December 15, 2013

Has anyone cracked open the marmalade yet? It looks so pretty.
posted by janell at 2:33 PM on December 16, 2013

I keep finding that I went home with more unopened bags of dried fruit. If anyone is looking for these, let me know and I'll set them aside. (Unless they're the blueberries- I can set them aside, but they're opened now. I was making oatmeal, and only realized afterwards that I don't know why I had an unopened bag of blueberries). I can also just eat them, no problem.
posted by Secretariat at 3:39 PM on December 16, 2013

YES. I wanted something carmely today so I opened a jar of marmalade and made marmalade tea and it was excellent.
posted by aniola at 4:37 PM on December 16, 2013

I'm eating some right now and while not "square" as we observed in the picture, it's still super thick and tasty. Bitter than sweet, like marmalade should be.
posted by fiercekitten at 6:58 AM on December 17, 2013

My only taste criticism is that the lime taste is more pronounced than I would have liked.
posted by fiercekitten at 6:59 AM on December 17, 2013

Photos posted!
posted by Secretariat at 2:45 PM on December 18, 2013

Mixed marmalade in with some of that home-thickened yogurt. Also SO GOOD.
posted by aniola at 10:07 PM on December 18, 2013

I mentioned that I would post my apple rum raisin pie recipe so here it is:
2-3 peeled granny smith apples, sliced
2-3 peeled other apple, course chopped
Zest of 1-2 tangerines
Juice of 1 tangerine, no seeds
1/3 c dark raisins
1/3 c light raisins
1/3 c rum
1/3 c water if needed, depending on how juicy the apples are
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp clove (or less)
1/2 tbsp flour
1/2 tbsp butter

2 9-in pie crusts, one in a pie pan, one flat

Preheat oven to 375F. Put apples in large pot. Add zest and other ingredients and heat until apples start to soften.
Put filling into pie and put pie crust on top. Bake until top crust is very brown, about 30-40 min.

I didn't realize all the ingredients in this. It really does taste like mince meat with out the gross.
posted by fiercekitten at 8:12 PM on December 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments