Congrats to Maxwell, Pam and Heather fan, Megan Schettler Schug, for saving the tarnished reputation of the fruitcake, by adding BACON! Here’s her winning “Bacon Bourbon Fruitcake” recipe…and listen to the audio clip as Brooks Reynolds, from the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival, awards her Bacon Fest Tickets!
Bacon Bourbon Fruitcake
(Adapted from Alton Brown’s Free Range Fruitcake)
1 c raisins
1 c chopped, pitted dates
1 c chopped dried apples
1 c bourbon
1 c brown sugar
6 T butter
4 T bacon grease (see syrup recipe below)
1 c apple juice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 ¾ c all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
¼ to ½ cup toasted pecans, broken
Bourbon Maple Bacon syrup (adapted from David Leite’s recipe)
1 lb bacon, thick cut, double smoked, cut to ½ inch pieces
6 oz bourbon
1 ½ c maple syrup
Fry bacon (in 2 batches, if needed) over medium heat until golden brown. Drain off a good portion of the grease and set aside for later use in the fruitcake. OFF THE HEAT, CAREFULLY add the bourbon to bacon in the pan, stirring and scraping the bits off the bottom. Add in your maple syrup and stir. Increase heat to med/high until bubbling well. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool for a bit. Transfer to a container and cover, refrigerate overnight.
The next day, skim the fat from the surface and using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the syrup mixture for use in fruitcake. Refrigerate syrup until you’re ready to baste the cakes.
Combine dried fruits, add bourbon and macerate overnight or microwave 5 minutes to rehydrate fruit.
Place fruit and liquid in a non-reactive pot with the sugar, butter, bacon grease, apple juice and cinnamon. Bring mixture to a boil stirring often, then reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for at least 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325.
Combine dry ingredients and stir carefully into the fruit mixture. When combined, stir in eggs one at a time, then fold in nuts and reserved bacon. Try not to overmix. Spoon into a 10 inch non-stick loaf pan and bake for 1 hour, or mini loaf pans and check doneness after 20 minutes with a toothpick.
remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. Baste with Bourbon Maple Bacon syrup and let cool completely before turning out of the pan.
When it is completely cool, place in a tight sealing, food safe container and put in the refrigerator. Once or twice a day for 3 days, baste the cake on all sides with syrup mixture.