Need to take a fruitcake to your holiday gathering, but not in the mood for baking? Luckily, PET milk has a no-bake solution. (And when Buzz saw this no-bake solution, he headed straight out to the store to get the ingredients.)
Line with waxed paper bottom and sides of 9-in. tube pan or loaf pan holding about 6 cups. Put into 2-qt. bowl 3/4 cup PET Evaporated Milk, 24 large Marshmallows, finely cut (or 3 cups of the midgets), and 1/2 cup orange juice or alcoholic flavoring. Let stand. Measure 6 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs (about 6 doz. 2-1/2-in. crackers, crushed) and put into a large bowl with 1/2 teasp. Cinnamon, 1/2 teasp. Nutmeg, 1/4 teasp. Cloves, 1-1/2 cups California seedless Raisins (1/2 golden and 1/2 dark are best), 3/4 cup finely cut Dates and 1 cup broken Walnuts. Add 1-1/4 cups cut-up Candied Fruit, bulk or canned ready-mixed. Mix in milk mixture with a spoon, then with hands until crumbs are moistened. Press firmly into pan. If desired, top with additional nuts and candied fruit. Cover tightly. Chill 2 days before slicing. Keep in refrigerator. Makes 3-1/2 lbs.
TWO DAYS? Fine… upon further consideration, this is probably not a great idea for that upcoming holiday gathering, unless you’re baking pretty far in advance. But if you want to make this in time for Yuletide, there’s still plenty of time.
This recipe doesn’t call for much that you’re not likely to have sitting around your kitchen. We generally have the candied fruit in the pantry, although this recipe exhausted our supply. Nor did we have the whopping six cups of graham cracker crumbs the recipe calls for.
Two whole boxes of crumbs are actually needed to make this dish.
The first step was soaking the cut-up marshmallows and letting them sit. (Due to unexpected interruptions, the marshmallow chunks actually ended up soaking for a whole day. But if we’d been in a hurry, we wouldn’t have been preparing this particular dish.) When they came out, essentially all the fluid had been absorbed, making the marshmallows quite soft and pliable.
When we did get around to continuing the recipe, we dumped in all the dry ingredients. Aren’t they colorful and festive?
After mixing, it looked a lot less colorful.
Then it was time to add the marshmallows. They didn’t go in very easily.
After ineffectually mushing things around with a sturdy wooden spoon for a little while, we dropped it in the stand mixer.
This is why I like having power tools in my kitchen: it was able to evenly distribute the liquid and pulverize the marshmallows in just a few minutes. It was remarkable to watch the softened marshmallows just dissolve away.
Squashing the batter into the pan required quite a lot of brute force. (And left knuckle prints.)
After one day of chilling, the gelatin in the marshmallows had thickened the mixture quite a bit. After a second day, it had hardened even a bit more. Getting it out of the pan was a bit sticky, but it popped free soon enough.
The wax paper coating the pan peeled right off, leaving some interesting marks.
It ended up very dense, not unlike the usual texture of fruitcake, except a bit thicker. It cut easily, although it didn’t look particularly charming on the plate.
The flavor of this isn’t really like a fruitcake. The graham crackers and wet marshmallows merged together thoroughly, but the resulting texture is very much like gingerbread cookie dough… with nuts and dried fruit. It’s definitely an odd experience. I wouldn’t say it’s a terrible experience, necessarily, but I won’t be making this again!