What is it? right? I knooow....it's looks are...undefining (if you're being nice). It's not meat. It's not bread....no veggies...no appealing color to draw you in. But if this was on your buffet table, people would be asking....
"What is this?"
Especially cuz it's on the dessert end of the table.
I had this at Grandmother Upton's one year. It was waaaaaay back when I was in jr. high school and the family had flown to Alabama for Christmas. I loved it.
Fast forward about 20 yrs or so and once again the family (only this time it was my own little family) was flying to Alabama for Christmas. It was the first time I'd had Christmas with my mom, dad, brother, sisters and all the rest of the family since I was 18 and I was looking forward to it. My mom, sisters and I were on the phone a lot...preparing ahead for the feast. I was going through cookbooks and pulling out recipes to bring with me. One of the recipes I came across in some holiday cookbook I had sounded good and I thought I'd give it try once we were at our destination.....and I did. It smelled and tasted very familiar though, but I couldn't put my finger on it. I think it was my dad that figured it out. It reminded us both of Grandmother Upton's Unbaked Fruit Cake, only we couldn't remember what it was called...and this recipe from the book was different.
Last year I called grandmother up to ask her for her recipe. Which was pretty funny cuz I didn't know what to call it. And she didn't know what I was talking about. All I could remember was something about oranges and nuts and it was brown. About a week later I got a note in the mail from her with the recipe I was craving....
Unbaked Fruit Cake
1 box of graham cracker crumbs
1 quart pecans (chopped, whole, whatever you want)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
"enough fresh orange juice to moisten good"
Raisins (I added about 7 oz)
Combine all the ingredients, adding the orange juice a small amount at a time. You want the orange juice to bind everything together. But...if you add too much, no worries just add more graham cracker crumbs. It's not an exact science.
She went on to explain that you could add anything you wanted to. I've seen other recipes that called for all sorts of candied fruit. If you like it...add it (I'm not a candied fruit fan). I've also seen recipes that required you to melt marshmallows. But that defeats the name of the recipe in my book, that requires some kind of cooking, right?
Anyways....smash it all into a pan (I used 2 very small bread pans) and chill.
It's sticky and a little gooey and ooooh so good. Just a little will do ya.
And the best part is.....it has no resemblance to "the" fruit cake, what so ever.