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Christmas treat recipes

Panettone Recipe | Amaretti Recipe | Struffoli Recipe

Related Italian Holiday Recipes Around the Web

Panettone

panettoneThis traditional Christmas bread originated in Milan, but has become a world wide favorite. The stories of the origin of the light, fruity dough are as delightful as the bread itself.

One story has a young baker giving credit to his love's father in order to win her hand. The father's name was Toni - so the bread became Toniís bread" or "pan ad Toni."

Another version has Toni as a not very energetic baker whose sugar and raisins fell into the bread dough. Rather than starting again he just baked the dough with the spillage included and ended his lazy days when the crowds came back to get more of Toni's bread.

The true origins are more likely rooted in the symbolism of the season.

1/4 pound sweet (unsalted) butter,
2 eggs
3 egg yolks
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup currants, soaked 1 hour in warm water and drained
Zest of 2 oranges
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Butter and flour an 8-inch tall round (panettone) cake pan. Many creative cooks use an empty large coffee can to get the roundness and height expected in a traditional panettone. Cream butter with eggs and yolks for about 3 to 4 minutes until the mixture is a pale yellow color. If you are using a mixer that has a dough hook, place it on the mixer and slowly mix in half of the flour. If you are going the traditional route, add the flour slowly while you hand mix the dough. The important thing is to mix the flour as you add it and not dump it at once into the mix. You won't get the right texture that way. Add half the milk and mix well. Add the remaining flour followed by the remainder of the milk and all of the sugar and mix until the batter is elastic - it should be slightly stringy. Spread out on to floured surface and sprinkle with currants, orange zest, cream of tartar and baking soda and knead for about 5 to 10 minutes. Place into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out dry. Remove from oven, invert on to a rack and allow to cool.

 

Amaretti

amarettiTraditionally served at Christmas time in Italy these are very light meringue cookies. The hint to successful amaretti is not to beat the egg whites too much. The mixture should have body but still retain moisture.

2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup chopped blanched almonds
3/4 teaspoon almond extract

Add salt to egg whites and beat until a peak holds it's shape when you remove the beater. Add sugar gradually, beating until mixture is stiff but not dry. Gently fold in the almonds and almond extract. Drop almond mixture on buttered and floured baking sheet by the teaspoon. Shape into small peaks, leaving room between them. Let the prepared dough stand 2 hours. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 10 - 12 minutes or until they are a very light brown.


Struffoli

Italian struffoli for ChristmasThis is the recipe we follow at our house. The dough can be prepared early and frozen. The children love helping to make the snakes and the little balls of dough. There are more elaborate recipes, but we prefer this simple one that is a family tradition.

4 egg yolks
2 egg whites
4 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons corn oil
1 tablespoons white vinegar
3 tablespoons rye whiskey
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
ľ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pint vegetable oil for deep frying
1 cup honey
Colored sprinkles

Beat together egg yolks, whites, sugar, oil, vinegar, whiskey and vanilla. Add flour, salt and baking powder, mixing to form a soft dough. Knead dough for a few minutes on a lightly-floured board. Take handfuls of dough and roll into snakes, about the thickness of a chickpea. Cut to make uniform chickpea pieces. Heat several inches of oil in a pan. Cook pieces of dough until golden brown, then drain on paper towel. Heat honey in a pot and add struffoli, coating well. Mound up on plate and add sprinkles.

We wrap the plates of struffoli in colored Saran Wrap and top them with a bow to bring to the family Christmas Eve Dinner. Everyone gets a plate to bring home.

Buon Natale e Buon Anno a tutti!

 

also see -> Feast of the Seven Fishes

Recipes from the Italian Middle AgesMedieval Italian cooking

 

More about Italian holiday foods around the Web:

Italian Holiday Breads

Italian Christmas Recipes

Christmas Recipes, Menus, Cookies, Desserts

 

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