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European Christmas recipes

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Joined: Feb 5, 2006


Posted to Thread #16898 at 12:18 pm on Nov 18, 2009

Totally droolworthy:

Maddy's Marvelous Mince Pies (Makes 12 individual pies)

For the orange pastry:
2 sticks (8 ounces) chilled, unsalted butter
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
4 cups self-rising flour (or 4 cups all-purpose flour mixed with 1 T. baking powder and 1/2 t. salt)
2 1/2 T. caster sugar (finely ground) or granulated sugar
Grated zest and juice of one large orange
For the filling:
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup caster sugar or granulated sugar
2 cups prepared mincemeat (look for it at the grocery, British import stores, or online)
1 large egg, beaten, or 3 T. milk
To make the orange pastry: Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter and shortening into the flour in a large bowl until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and orange zest and add the juice by tablespoons until the mixture comes together. Gather into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

To make the filling: Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until light, about three to four minutes. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a standard 12-compartment muffin pan.

Divide the pastry dough in half. Take one half and roll it out on a lightly-floured board until about 1/4-inch in thickness. Cut twelve 6-inch rounds and fit them into the bottoms and up the sides of the muffin compartments.

Dollop the mincemeat into the pastry, dividing equally. Top with the cream cheese mixture. Roll out the remaining pastry and cut out twelve 3 1/2-inch rounds. Brush the edges of the pastry in the muffin tins with the beaten egg or milk, then place the 3 1/2-inch rounds on top. Pinch the rounds together to seal them securely.

Bake 20 minutes or until pastry is lightly browned on top. Let cool in the pan and then turn out.

Catherine's Christmas Pudding (Makes 4 puddings, 2 pounds each)

1 lb. (about 4 cups) raisins
1 lb. (about 4 cups) golden raisins
1 lb. (about 4 cups) currants
3/4 lb. (about 3 cups) candied peel
1 1/2 lb. beef suet, finely chopped
6 large eggs
1 lb. (about 6 cups) fresh breadcrumbs
1 lb. (2 1/2 cups) lightly-packed brown sugar
1 lb. (4 cups) self-rising flour
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. allspice
1 cup (4 oz.) finely ground almonds
20 oz. strong ale (Guinness works great!)
3 T. double brandy
In a large bowl, mix the fruit, candied peel, suet, eggs, breadcrumbs, and sugar. In a separate bowl, blend together the flour, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and almonds. In a small bowl, stir together the ale and brandy. Add the flour mixture and ale mixture to the fruit. Mix well to achieve a cake-like consistency. Add more beer if too dry.

Grease four pudding pans (2-lb capacity apiece). Fill the pans, leaving a 1-inch space at the top. Cover with parchment or wax paper and tie it around the tops with cotton string.

Place in a steamer and steam for eight hours, refilling with more water as needed. Let cool completely. Replace the paper on top when cooled. To reheat, steam for 30 minutes to heat through.

This pudding will keep for about a year or so. A couple of days before use, uncover, poke a skewer into the pudding in several places, and moisten with brandy.

Norwegian Julekaka (Christmas Cake) (Makes 2 loaves)

Bake this delicious bread early on Christmas morning. Consume warm with lots of sweet butter slathered on top.

1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 t. sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 t. salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 t.cardamom
Approximately 5 cups sifted flour
1/2 cup citron
1/2 cup dried or candied cherries
1/2 cup golden raisins
Heat the milk and add butter to the hot milk. Cool to lukewarm.

Dissolve the yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Add the egg and yeast to the milk and butter mixture. Add salt, sugar, and cardamom. Beat in 2 cups of flour and mix well.

Mix the citron, cherries, and raisins together with a little flour, so the fruit doesn't stick together, and add to the mixture. Gradually add the rest of the flour, beating well after each addition, until the dough becomes pretty stiff.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board or cloth and knead until smooth. Place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk. Divide the dough into two equal parts and form round loaves. Place the loaves on buttered cookie sheets and let rise until nearly double.

Preheat oven to 350°. Brush the top of the dough with a beaten egg or egg white. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes (check for doneness by tapping lightly on the loaf; it should sound hollow). While still warm, dust the julekaka with powdered sugar. Decorate with candied cherries and almonds if desired.

Homemade Foie Gras

Prepare eight days ahead.

600-700 gram block of grade-A pure goose liver
Kosher salt
1 clay or porcelain terrine with cover
Ice Cubes
In a bowl, marinate the liver in milk with ice cubes overnight.

The next day, dry the liver in a towel, then spread it out. Cut the liver in two parts lengthwise and use tweezers to remove the main vein and as many of the smaller ones as possible. Add kosher salt and a generous quantity of pepper from a pepper mill. Wrap the seasoned liver in a towel. While grasping the two ends of the towel firmly, shake for 10 minutes so that the salt and pepper impregnate the liver.

Heat the oven to 215°F and prepare a dish for a bain-marie (water bath). Squeeze the liver into the terrine dish and work it so that it's against the sides of the pot. Cover the terrine with lid and put in water bath. (To create a water bath, place a folded kitchen towel in the bottom of a roasting pan. Put the sealed terrine on the towel and add hot water to fill the roasting pan halfway.) Put the terrine, resting in the water bath, in the oven for one hour. Remove foie gras from the oven and let cool to room temperature, then place in fridge for eight hours.

On the day you wish to serve it, take the foie gras out of the terrine by putting the dish in warm water and running a knife around the edges. Cut fine slices with a knife rinsed in hot water after each slice. Serve with slices of toasted baguette.

Filet of Beef Tenderloin in Brioche with Truffles

Wild mushrooms can be substituted for the truffles.

(begin the day before)

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 t. salt
1 stick plus 1 T. softened butter
10 g fresh yeast, or baker's yeast
3 eggs
Thin the yeast with some warm milk in a large bowl. Mix in a little flour. Let yeast and flour mixture sit for six hours in a container with additional flour. When the mixture has risen halfway, knead it by hand while adding remaining flour, salt, eggs, and butter. Work it with your palms. Put the dough back in the bowl and allow it to rise for 12 hours in a warm place. Then fold up the ends of the dough to the center and repeat this many times rolling and stretching until the dough is supple and shiny.

Beef tenderloin:
1.5 kg filet of beef tenderloin
200 g truffles (or wild mushrooms)
Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
Brown the beef in butter in a large skillet for 5 minutes on each side. Put the browned filet in a dishtowel to remove grease. Brush generously with mustard and set aside. Chop the truffles coarsely and cover the meat with them.

Roll, stretch and spread out the dough on a large, flat surface. Place the prepared beef in the center of the dough and wrap around the meat, covering it completely. Brush dough with a beaten egg so that it will brown while baking. Make a little chimney (funnel) from an index card and insert in brioche dough to allow steam to exit during cooking. Bake for 50 minutes at 350 degrees until golden brown. Serve with a French Pinot Noir.

Gluhwein: Christkind's Hot Spiced Wine (Serves 4-6)

Germany's top poet and playwright, Goethe, wrote: "A shot of punch helps heat up the parlour." As far back as ancient Rome, wine was made hot and sweet in winter by adding honey and spices. Today, cold souls all over Germany get a seasonal lift as market square stalls sell the hot, sweet-and-spicy drink. There are as many ways to prepare hot red wine punch as there are ways to decorate O Tannenbaum. Here's the recipe we enjoyed in Nürnberg — it's easy to make, and goes down just right as you sit around the fireplace in the Christmas season.

For a non-alcoholic version, substitute fresh apple cider instead of the wine.

1 bottle dry red table wine (750 ml.)
5 T. granulated sugar, or to taste
12 whole cloves, or to taste
1 cinnamon stick, broken into 4 pieces
Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
Rind of 1 lemon, washed and cut into 1 long strip
Combine all the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer (don't let it come to a boil). Simmer 5 minutes and strain into serving cups. For extra fragrance and spice, garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

Gingerbread: Elisenlebkuchen of Nürnberg (Makes about 20 cakes)

Elisenlebkuchen are considered the finest of Germany's Christmas Gingerbreads. Traditionally these Lebkuchen are baked on edible Oblaten (communion-like wafers), but wax paper can be substituted.

1 cup plus 2 T. sugar
4 large egg whites
1/4 cup honey
3 T. apricot jam
1/3 cup marzipan
2 cups skinned hazelnuts, toasted and
finely ground
1/3 cup candied lemon peel
1/3 cup candied orange peel
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. freshly-ground nutmeg
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. ground cardamon
1/4 t. salt
1/2 cup flour
1 t. baking powder
Halved almonds
11/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 T. water
1/2 t. lemon juice
In the metal bowl of an electric mixer, mix together the sugar, egg whites, honey, and jam. Place the bowl in a pan of simmering water (similar to the double-boiler method). Stirring frequently, heat the mixture until the temperature of a warm bath. Transfer the bowl back to the mixer and add the marzipan, hazelnuts, and candied lemon and orange peels.

In a separate bowl, combine the spices, salt, flour and baking powder. Mix the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until thoroughly combined.

Spread the Oblaten on large baking sheets (or line baking sheets with wax paper). Dampen your hands and roll dough into balls, about 2 tablespoonfuls apiece. Place one on each round of oblaten and flatten slightly. Press an almond half into the top of each cookie and let stand in a warm room to dry for 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake 11-15 minutes or until the surface of the cookie no longer appears wet. Transfer to racks to cool.

In a large bowl, mix together the confectioners' sugar, water, and lemon juice. Brush cookies with icing and let set, about 1 hour.

Panettone di Milano

Start this panettone early in the day; it takes quite a long time to make.

1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup warm water (100°F to 110°F)
2 packages active dry yeast
4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
6 large egg yolks
1 1/2 sticks softened unsalted butter, plus additional softened butter
2 cups raisins
1 cup candied citron
To make the sponge, pour the 1/3 cup warm water into a bowl and sprinkle 1 packet of yeast over it. Let stand until the yeast has dissolved (about 10 minutes) and stir in 1/2 cup of flour. Cover and let stand 30 minutes.

Sprinkle the remaining packet of yeast over the remaining 1/2 cup water in another small bowl. Let stand until dissolved.

In a large bowl, beat together the sugar, egg yolks, and the yeast-and-water mixture. Stir in the sponge mixture. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the 1 1/2 sticks of butter and remaining 3 1/2 cups flour. Continue beating and slowly add the egg mixture. Beat on high speed until dough is elastic-looking and smooth. Beat in raisins and citron. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl. Cover and leave in a warm place until doubled; allow two to three hours.

Divide into three loaves. Roll them into oblong shapes and place in bread pans lined with buttered, brown paper. Cover and let rise again, until doubled, for about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut an X in the top of each loaf with a razor. Insert a dot of butter into the X and bake 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 375°F and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes. Loaves are done when a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Panforte di Siena (Serves 8-10, makes 1 9-inch cake)

1 cup whole hazelnuts
1 cup natural shelled almonds
1 cup candied citron, finely sliced
1 cup candied orange or pumpkin, finely sliced
1 t. grated orange zest
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. coriander
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. freshly grated nutmeg
Softened butter
2/3 cup honey
2/3 cup sugar
Confectioners' sugar
Heat the oven to 350°F. Toast the hazelnuts on a baking sheet until the skins blister and pop, about 10 to 15 minutes. Rub the skins from the hazelnuts with a kitchen towel. Toast the almonds on a baking sheet until lightly toasted, about 10 to 15 minutes. Chop the almonds and hazelnuts very coarsely. Turn the oven down to 300°F.

In a large bowl, combine the nuts, citron, orange, zest, flour, cocoa, and spices and mix well.

Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom and sides of the pan with parchment. Butter the parchment and set aside.

In a medium saucepan combine the honey and butter. Bring to a boil, and boil without stirring for 2 minutes. Pour the mixture over the nut mixture and mix vigorously to combine. Quickly scrape the mixture into the prepared pan (it becomes stiff very fast) and pat the dough quickly into place with a spatula.

Bake 30 minutes. Cool until firm to the touch and remove the sides of the pan. Invert the cake, peel away the parchment and shower the cake with confectioners' sugar just before serving.
Gimmelwald Fondue(Serves 4-6)

To make Gimmelwald Fondue, you'll need from two to four different types of Swiss cheeses, one pound total. Gruyere, Appenzeller, Tilsiter, and Emmental are all traditional choices for fondue.

Make the fondue immediately before you plan to consume it (it can't wait around) and accompany it with more Swiss white wine or black tea.

1 clove garlic, cut in half
1 2/3 cups dry white wine (preferably Swiss, such as Fendant)
1 cup (4 oz.) grated strong Gruyere
1 cup (4 oz.) grated strong Emmentaler
1 cup (4 oz.) grated Appenzeller
1 cup (4 oz.) grated Vacherin
3 T. flour
3 T. Kirsch (cherry brandy)
1 t. lemon juice
Freshly grated nutmeg and black pepper to taste
2 loves freshly baked rustic white bread (ideally from a Swiss bakery), cut into 1-inch cubes
Rub a heavy-bottomed saucepan or fondue pot with the garlic, then discard the garlic. Pour in the wine and set over moderate heat on the stove or place the fondue pot over the warmer. When air bubbles rise to the surface, add the cheese in handfuls, stirring, until the cheese is melted and the mixture is blended. In a small cup, mix together the flour, Kirsch, and lemon juice, then stir into the fondue. Season with the nutmeg and black pepper. Serve it bubbling hot. Spear bread cubes with long-handled forks; dip and spin the cubes in the bubbling cheese. Sit to the right of someone you don't mind kissing. Enjoy a figugegl time!


"I Love Cooking With Wine. Sometimes I Even Put It In The Food."

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