Stirring up a taste of Christmas…

Yes, even before Thanksgiving! Today in the Anglican church calendar it’s the last Sunday before Advent, also known as Christ the King Sunday. This Sunday’s collect, from the 1549 Book of Common Prayer in the Anglican church started with the words “Stir up…”:

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Book of Common Prayer, 1549

I’m starting the process of making a fruitcake, which does have to age a full month. For the past few years I’ve been making extra-special fruitcakes – not the bricks of old, but something that people may actually like once they take a bite out of politeness. I love seeing the reaction of people who hate fruitcake. No, you don’t. You hate Claxton fruitcakes. So do I!

This year I’m making a recipe which calls for 6 full cups of candied citrus peel. The sweet teenager at the Publix didn’t have a clue what I was asking about, and we both started consulting Google Images. He finally led me to the fruitcake ingredient aisle (they move it EVERY YEAR.) The only thing there were those icky-sweet pieces of “fruit” that were in neon colors. Time to make my own. I searched for a recipe and found an easy one on AllRecipes.com.

Life Lesson: Easy is not the same thing as Fast. Or Cheap.

– Aunt Gem

First, my actual cake recipe called for six full cups of candied peel. I shrugged and bought up two bags of Cuties (easy to peel!) and a bag of lemons. I’m $10 in and I haven’t even started on the almonds. Then I started peeling.

Only halfway to 2 cups of peel

Finally, I hit two cups after I emptied an entire bag of clementines. I have a lot of fruit to eat in the next few days. Fortunately, I’m making ambrosia for Thanksgiving.

This is what two cups of peel looks like at the start of the process.

First, you bring to a full boil. Then, you let it simmer for 10 minutes.

Then you drain everything – and repeat the whole process two more times. Finally, you wind up with this:

The two cups I started with shrunk.

And now, over an hour later, I still have four more cups to make. This fruitcake better be worth it, Martha!