Some people love fruit cake. Some people hate it. My theory is that those who hate it have never had a homemade fruit cake. My boozy Christmas cake isn’t made with neon fruits – it’s made with raisins, dates and my homemade tutti frutti.
If you’re not sure what tutti frutti is, it’s basically just “fruit cake mix.” Here’s a picture of tutti frutti at my local grocery store. Don’t these ingredients look appetizing (tone: friendly but sarcastic. it’s possible.): red 40, blue 1, yellow 5.
My hubby’s family is from Kerala in India. For Christians in Kerala, Christmas fruit cake (also known as Kerala Plum Cake) is tradition. Now that we’re a gluten-free household, I wanted to make sure that Roby would still get to eat fruit cake. In India and probably other places, tutti frutti is actually just candied green papaya (unripened papaya). Green papaya is both spongy and flavorless which allows it to absorb both color and flavor very well. It’s also the right amount of chewy when used in baked goods. You can find green papaya at most Asian grocery stores and sometimes even at health food stores – I got this one from Trader Joe’s.
Candied green papaya is easy to make. You chop the fruit into tiny pieces and let it soak in a sweet mixture overnight. Then, you can either air dry it for a couple days and use it immediately, or you can dehydrate it and store it in the pantry for months. Use the tutti frutti to make some awesome baked goods. Easy right? Right. You can make this fruit cake mix any color you’d like – I decided to use beet juice to give my tutti frutti a pretty red color.
- 1 green papaya, chopped into small pieces
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon beet juice per 1 cup green papaya (adjust according to size of your papaya)
- Peel and chop 1 green papaya into small pieces.
- In a small saucepan, combine water and honey. Bring to a low boil and once the honey dissolves, add the chopped fruit and mix well.
- Cover with a lid and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
- Add this mixture to an air-tight container along with some beet juice. Once cool, put this in the refrigerator overnight.
- The next day, put the fruit in a dehydrator until fully dried.
- Store this in an air-tight container in the pantry until you’re ready to use it. Just be sure to macerate it by soaking it in liquid (water or juice or rum) before using.