Today’s holiday guest is fellow Sirenista, author Karen Mercury. She shares why perhaps a two-fridge household could be a wise idea in some families…
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Close Encounters of the Fruitcake Kind
It’s a tradition in my husband’s Sicilian family to pass this fruitcake along every year from relative…to relative…to relative. I mean, they pass along the actual fruitcake, not the recipe. Each year they must hand off fruitcakes to each other in festive bags with wreaths of smiles, then steal furtively home to stash them in the fridge for next year’s exchange.
How can you tell how old a fruitcake is, anyway? My mother-in-law doesn’t label her cakes with dates. Some of the ones currently clogging up approximately one-third of my fridge could be from twenty years ago, when I first met her son.
Every year when he shows up with yet another foil-wrapped brick to cram into the wall he’s building above the vegetable crisper, I yell, “Not another one! Can’t she take a year off? Make them every other year?”
My husband gets violently angry when I suggest this. Apparently I’m attacking a time-honored, sacrosanct ceremony if I dare suggest I might want room in the fridge for, say, a carton of eggs. “Why don’t you just send a hit man to my mother’s and kill her right now?” he will yell back.
I’ve never once seen my husband take a cake out and eat a slice. Not once. When I suggest he do so, he says, “Soon. It has to be the right time.” Apparently a fruitcake’s sanctified gestation is on par with that of an elephant calf.
Every four years or so, I try to sneak and toss one into the garbage can, but of course he knows how many are back there. Eventually I’ll be caught off guard one day. I’ll be minding my own business in the next room, knitting or wiring together a cougar’s skull, and boom. The telltale lightbulb from the back of the fridge will blare on the kitchen wall like that spaceship door opening in Close Encounters. I swear the ominous soundtrack even starts playing. Frozen in terror, I turn my head, steeling myself for what I should have known was coming.
“All right. Who took my—”
My research indicates that no one really knows how long fruitcakes last because no one has ever outlived one. A Cro-Magnon could have made the cake sitting in your fridge, if he had wrapped it properly and poured enough booze over it.
So here is the sacred recipe. Maybe you need a weapon, something to re-gift, or just another brick in the wall.
1 1/2 cups candied pineapple, chopped
1 1/2 cups candied cherries, chopped
1 cup raisins
3/4 cup currants
2 cups chopped pecans
1/2 cup white grape juice
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups brown sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon almond extract
Grease a 10-inch pan and line with wax paper. In a large bowl, combine the pineapple, cherries, raisins, currants, and pecans or walnuts. Add grape juice and stir until well blended. Let stand 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. In a large bowl, cream butter. Gradually add brown sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In another large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. Gradually add to butter mixture. Add almond extract and fruit mixture; stir until well blended. Spoon into prepared pan.
Bake 3 hours and 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Remove from pan, peel paper liner from cake, and cool completely. Wrap in a brandy-soaked cheesecloth; store in an airtight container for one week. After one week, store in the refrigerator.
Editor’s Note: Along with the other thirty-eight fruitcakes.
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Blurb: Something Sinful This Way Comes
[Siren Ménage Everlasting: Erotic Ménage a Trois Romance, M/M/F, light consensual BDSM, spanking, sex toys, HEA]
Xandra McQueen has a whole new lease on life after inheriting the Triple Play Lodge in Utah. Rid of an abusive crime lord boyfriend, she revels in her new relationships with the former commando Nathan Horowitz and the gentle game warden Julian “Fresh Air” Longtree.
But a stalker upsets her bucolic existence, breaking into her suite to steal photographs. Nathan, running from the nightmare of his most recent African mission, puts his heart and soul into tracking down the blackmailing pervert. But he just lost a beloved partner. He BASE jumps from desert spires to help himself forget. Why does he want to add not one but two more loves to the mix?
Xandra knows she has fallen for two damaged, broken spirits in Nathan and Julian. Together, they race to unmask the stalker, piecing together the crimes as well as the mysteries of their ménage.
A Siren Erotic Romance