Sunday, November 16, 2008
Komisbrot - A Fruit Cake for the Rest of Us
This is a fruit cake for people who hate fruitcake.
I personally do not harbor the deep disdain for all things fruitcake as some do. What's not to like about bread, soaked in booze, studded with sickly sweet and freakishly colored "fruit"? As many of you may know, I have a perverse love of maraschino cherries, so it makes a bit of sense that I have indeed found a fruitcake every now and then that I can support.
Of course, the majority of fruitcakes out there are indeed cloyingly sweet, oddly alcoholic tasting bricks. This Komisbrot recipe is nothing of the sort. It is autumnal, light, airy, well balanced and a new favorite in our household. This apparently is a Serbian cake-bread that is unrelated to the German rye bread Kommisbrot. It's also the perfect thing to make to use up any extra egg whites. The recipe is taken from Palachinka, which is worth a browse for some beautiful food.
All of the measurements are based on the volume of 5 egg whites (for one loaf) and is reminiscent of pound cake in its construction style - 1 portion egg whites to 1 portion flour, 1 portion sugar, 1 portion chopped dried fruits and nuts and 1/5 portion oil.
I've used dried apricots, cranberries, raisins, and toasted walnuts, but any combo will work.
Whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt. The longer you whip the egg whites, the airier the bread will be. I have found that I prefer not to overdo it. A bit of density in the final product is nice.
Slowly mix the sugar into the egg whites until well combined. Gradually mix in the sifted flour with a spoon or spatula and then the fruit and nuts (I toss the chopped fruits and nuts with a tablespoon or two of the flour to help keep them suspended in the cake instead of sinking to the bottom). Finally stir in the oil.
The whole thing can go into a greased loaf pan and then into a preheated oven at around 350 degrees (a little higher works too).
Cook until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes, but check a bit earlier just to be safe.
It's a great cake with tea in the morning or for an afternoon snack.