A week?! I think it was Delia's Christmas cake recipe I've used in the past and it said 3 tbsp. of brandy for 2 lbs. of fruit for 24 hours. I've been doing 6 tbsp. for 48 hours but it just doesn't feel enough (alcohol and soak time).
I don't eat Christmas cake, Christmas pudding or mince pies but I enjoy making them all and my in-laws gobble it all up.
I'm itching to get started -- usually make it all in September/October -- but more-or-less won't be home until September now so have to wait.
I triple Delia's quantity of alcohol and steep for at least a week! I cook them in batches though, so have a massive bowl of steeping fruits on the go throughout Oct/Nov. Last year I made 12 Christmas cakes!
Twelve cakes. . That's a lot of fruit and orange rind cake. How do you decorate all those cakes?
I think I'll try tripling the brandy and soaking for a week. I'm going to soak the fruit in my homemade cherry brandy this year as an experiment. Do you think I could use those cherries instead of glace cherries?
I made mince meat 3 years ago and 2 years ago. The jar that was 2 years old that i opened last year was divine (I still have 1 left of that batch) - so the longer the steeping, the better in that case!! (Although, they were all fine to use within 3 weeks of making, but the longer the sitting, the better the flavour).
To my shame (only married 13 years!!) I have never yet made a cake or pudding, as DM makes a pudding for us (almost) every year, and DMIL makes a cake for us, again (almost) every year. I am sure someday I will do one of those, and I know DM only soaks overnight but leaves to mature once cooked for 3 months (both her puddings and her cake), while I don't know much about MIL's methods....
I wouldn't swop cherries from cherry brandy totally for glace cherries - different textures and flavours (and sweetnesses). But you could do a mix of the 2, which would be quite nice I should think (I did cherries in honey rum a few years ago, and used them as the middle of hm chocolates for 2 years running -delish!!).
And I use a mincemeat recipe that calls for gran marnier rather than brandy, which gives a nice orange flavour. I know DM uses brandy for puddings and whiskey for cakes fruit.