1/2 cup dark rum or apple juice
1/3 cup finely snipped dried pineapple or apricots
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup coarsely chopped dried tart red cherries
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup dried currants
5 -5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 packages active dry yeast
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Vanilla Sugar or coarse sugar
In a medium bowl, pour the rum over pineapple or apricots, golden raisins, cherries, raisins and currants. Set aside to soak, stirring occasionally.
In large mixing bowl, combine 1-3/4 cups of flour, yeast, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves. In a medium saucepan, heat and stir milk, the 1/2 cup butter, the 1/4 cup granulated sugar, honey and salt till warm (120 degrees F to 130 degrees F) and butter almost melts. Add to the flour mixture with the egg. Beat with electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. By hand, stir in fruit-rum mixture, pecans, and as much of the remaining flour as you can with a wooden spoon.
Turn dough onto a floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough thats smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes). Shape into a ball. Place in a greased bowl; turn once to grease the surface. Cover; let rise in a warm place till doubled in size (about 1-3/4 hours).
Grease 2 baking sheets; set aside. Punch dough down. Turn dough onto a floured surface. Divide dough in half. Cover; let rest 10 minutes. Form each half into a 9×4-inch loaf and place on prepared baking sheets. Flatten each loaf slightly to form 11×7-inch ovals, making them slightly tapered at the ends. Without stretching, fold a long side over to within 1 inch of opposite side; press edges to lightly seal. Cover; let rise till nearly double (about 1 hour).
Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or till bread sounds hollow when you tap it, covering with foil the last 10 minutes of baking, if necessary, to prevent overbrowning. Remove from baking sheets; place on a wire rack. Immediately brush with the melted butter. While still warm, sprinkle with Vanilla Sugar. (Or, sprinkle loaves with coarse decorating sugar).
Cool completely. Wrap and store in the refrigerator at least overnight or for up to 2 days before serving. Makes 2 loaves (32 servings).
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon sifted powdered sugar
In a small bowl, combine sugar and vanilla. Using your hands, rub the vanilla into the sugar. Stir in powdered sugar. Spread mixture on a sheet of waxed paper to dry. When dry, crush the mixture slightly.