Soften raisins by putting them in small amount of hot water. Prepare candied fruit by dicing and shaking them in a bag with a little flour to coat and separate the fruit.
In a medium bowl dissolve the yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1/4 cup warm water.
In a saucepan, scald milk: bring to 180F in a saucepan over medium heat while stirring constantly -- small bubbles should form. Stir in shortening and let cool for 15 minutes.
Transfer milk mixture to a big mixing bowl and add 1/2 cup sugar, salt and ground cardamom seed. Mix in 2 cups flour, 1 cup at a time. If using a mixer, start with the paddle attachment.
Stir in yeast mixture. Add in 2 cups flour, 1 cup at a time. Add candied fruit, raisins, and chopped almonds, mixing well. If using a mixer, switch to the dough hook at this point.
Stir in 2 1/2 cups of remaining flour, 1 cup at a time.
Turn dough out on a floured board and kneed well. Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with a damp cloth.
Put dough in a warm place (about 80F) or in a warmed oven (turned off) with a pan of hot water on the bottom rack. Let dough rise until double, about 45 mins. Punch down and let rise until double again.
Punch down and cut into 2 equal sections. Knead well. Form round loaves and place them on a cookie sheet. Cover with a damp cloth and double once more.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Bake loaves for about 35 minutes -- the tops should be golden brown.