1 1/2 sticks of margarine
Sift dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add eggs, vanilla and softened margarine. Mix well. Roll into ball and refrigerate for a while, makes it easier to handle. Remove from bowl, and cut a piece off. Roll out flat. Use a cookie cutter, or roll into long little pieces and make a braid or shape like a wreath. Use your imagination. Make them in any shape or form you wish. Bake on cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Decorate with a mixture of powdered sugar and water. Make the paste thick but thin enough to put on cookies. Drizzle on each cookie and then put Christmas sprinkles on them.
Now, if you have a meat grinder, its best. Don't make the mistake I did once and use my blender to do this. Not a good idea! I smoke checked it. But a food processor should do the trick. You may also put the figs in some water, and stew them for a few minutes to soften them. Chop nuts up fine in a nut chopper. Put a 1/2 cup of sherry and other ingredients into food processor a little at a time, and grind up (no need to add sherry during grinding if you use a meat chopper, you can add that later when you mix in the nuts). Remove from processor and put in large bowl, add nuts and mix well. Add more sherry as needed as to not have mixture too dry. A medium to dry consistency is what your looking for. Now put in a covered plastic container, and store in refrigerator. Can be stored for up to a year. Add a tsp. of sherry to mixture once a month to keep it fermented.
Now use this filling for the Italian cookies. Just flatten a small piece of dough and put a tsp. of filling on it and fold sides up and pinch closed. Bake the same as for the plain cookies. And decorate or leave plain.
Maria's Christmas Fruit Cake
1 1/2 lb candied fruit mix
Mix fruit, dates, nuts, honey and wine. In another bowl, cream butter and gradually cream in sugar, then beat in eggs one at a time, beating each one very thoroughly. Transfer creamed butter and sugar to large bowl and add fruits. Then sift in dry ingrediants. Mix all together very thoroughly. In a spring pan with hole in center, butter and line all sides and bottom including the round part of center with wax paper. Bake in slow oven at 275 degrees for about 2-2 1/2 hours with a pan of water on oven floor. When done, remove from pan to cool but leave paper on cake. Store in a airtight can lined with tin foil, making sure to place a piece of tin foil over top of cake. Once a week till Christmas, pour a jigger of Sherry on top and in the middle hole of cake. After Christmas adding once a month will do.
Makes a 5 lb cake.
Maria's Italian Biscotti©
Crush up anise seeds add a little water and mix well. In a large bowl. Put eggs, sugar, fruit, oil, anise seeds, extract and almonds. Mix well. Sift flour and baking powder and add to mixture. Mix well, add more flour if needed until dough is firm enough to roll. Divide into to portions and roll out round about 8-12 inches long and a 1/2 inch thick. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Take out of oven, and slice diagonally into 1 inch slices. Put back in oven and bake until lightly brown turning once. Remove and cool on cookie rack.
3 egg yolks
Beat egg yolks and sugar together until foamy. Add flour and salt and mix until smooth. Add your vanilla. Beat egg whites until firm and fold into egg yolk until well blended. Butter baking sheet and dust with flour, or use non stick. Drop the batter by tablespoonfuls on baking sheet and shape into 3 inch long fingers. Mix together confectioner's sugar and granulated sugar and sprinkle half over fingers. Let stand about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining half of sugar and let stand an additional 5 minutes and bake at 375° for 10 minutes or until golden. cool on rack.
* Cannoli tubes can be found at specialty stores, or you can get a aluminum tube from the hardware store. Get a tube about 8 inches long and about an inch thick. Or if all else fails, do like mamma did. Use a broom or mop handle (an old one of course, so you don't have to ruin a new one by cutting it) make sure its an unpainted one.
Cream ricotta well and add chocolate, orange peel, liqueur
Place honey in top of double boiler over boiling water and stir with a wooden spoon for 1 hour, or until the honey is caramelized. Beat egg whites until stiff and add to honey slowly, mixing well. The mixture will be fluffy and white. Combine sugar with 2 tbsp. water in small saucepan and let boil without stirring, until caramelized. Add caramelized sugar to honey mixture a little at a time, mixing well. Cook mixture a little longer and when a little dropped into cold water hardens, add nuts, candied fruit and grated rind. Mix well and quickly before mixture has time to harden. Line 2 or 3 6x8-inch loaf pans with wafer* and pour in mixture about 2 inches deep. Cover top with wafers, let cool about 20 minutes and cut each mold into 2 long rectangular pieces, cutting down the center length-wise. Makes from 4-6 long pieces. Wrap in waxed paper to store.
Very thin sheet-like unleavened wheat bread, known as
Place honey on top of double boiler over boiling water and stir constantly 1 1/2 hours, or until caramelized. Combine sugar and water in small saucepan and let boil until caramelized. Beat egg whites until stiff and add to honey a little at a time, mixing well. Combine cocoa with 2 tbsp. water and 1 tbsp. sugar and cook until creamy. Add cocoa and nuts to first mixture and mix. Line 2 or 3 6x8 inch loaf pans with wafer* and pour in mixture to a depth of about 2 inches. Let cool and cut into 2 long rectangular pieces. Wrap in waxed paper to store. Makes 4 to 6 pieces.
Mix together well the ricotta, salt, flour, sugar, egg yolks and orange rind. Mix for at least 5 minutes and add raisins and candied orange peel. Fold in gently the beaten egg whites. Butter and flour a deep cake pan and pour in batter, do not fill the pan more than half full. Bake in moderate oven 375 degree's for 35 minutes, or until firm. Remove from oven, turn onto dish and sprinkle with confectioners sugar and cinnamon.
Cook rice in milk in double boiler about 20 minutes. Add salt, sugar, butter and lemon rind and let cool. When cool add rum, flour and beaten egg yolks and let stand in cool place for several hours. When ready to serve, fold in stiffly beaten egg whites, and drop by spoonfuls into deep hot oil or cooking fat. Serve hot, sprinkled with powdered sugar.
flour in a bowl and add yeast and water. Mix together well. Cover and
let stand in a warm place for 20 minutes. In another bowl, place 3/4
cup flour, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 egg, 1 egg yolk and 1 tbsp melted butter.
Mix a little and add the yeast mixture. Work together well for 5
minutes, Cover bowl and let rise in a warm place for one hour, or until
it has doubled in bulk.
Place egg yolks and sugar in mixing bowl and beat until it becomes lemon colored. Start adding the flour a little at a time, making sure to blend in well. Add vanilla and lemon rind. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into cake batter. Pour cake batter into buttered and floured, or use non stick, 18 inch square cake pan. Bake at 375° oven for 40 minutes. Turn over on cake rack and cool.
Put ricotta, sugar, vanilla and crème de cacao in a bowl and mix well, using a wooden spoon until smooth for about 10 min. Add chocolate and fruit and mix well. Cut sponge cake into 1-inch slices and line a casserole dish on bottom and sides with cake slices. Pour ricotta cream over cake and top with more cake slices. Refrigerate over night or for at least 4-5 hours. Turn over on a serving dish, and sprinkle with confectioners sugar.
cups chestnut flour
Mix flour, salt, water , oil and raisins thoroughly until the mixture is smooth. Pour into an oiled 8-9 inch pie plate and sprinkle with pine nuts and rosemary. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until the top is crisp.
Cut the sponge cake into 1/2 inch slices. Sprinkle half with rum and the other half with the crème de cacao. Spread the bottom of a 10 inch baking dish with a little of the pasticciera cream and place on it two layers of rum soaked cake. Pour pasticciera cream over cake and sprinkle with candied fruit. Cover cream with two layers of crème de cacao soaked cake. Beat egg whites till stiff, add sugar and beat again. Pile egg whites onto cake and bake at 300° for 20 minutes. Let cool before serving.
Put sugar, egg yolks, flour, lemon rind and vanilla in a
saucepan and mix well. Scald the milk and pour over mixture, beating
constantly with electric hand mixer. Continue cooking on low heat
stirring with a wooden spoon until mixture reaches the boiling state.
Continue to cook another 4 minutes stirring constantly. Remove from
heat and add butter and mix well. Pour into a bowl and let cool,
stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming over top of cream.
Combine water, salt and brandy and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and add flour mix vigorously. Return to heat and continue mixing until mixture becomes dry and somewhat hard. Pour olive oil on a bread board and place dough on it and let cool. Roll the dough and fold over, and roll again. repeat this about 7 times or until the dough has absorbed all the oil and has become elastic. Roll dough and shape into a long rope about the thickness of your finger. Cut the rope into 6 inch pieces and form each piece into a ring. Prick each ring with fork and fry in hot oil until golden and crisp. Note: Do not fry too many rings at once. Drain rings well and sprinkle generously with sugar.
Put your flour on board and make a well in the center add
your eggs, egg yolk, oil, sugar, salt and lemon peel. Mix and work
dough well. Shape dough into very small balls about the size of
marbles, and fry in hot oil until golden. Note: fry only a few at a
time. While dough is frying, melt honey in saucepan and add orange
peel. When balls are done, drop in honey and remove with a strainer
spoon. Pile on a serving dish into conical mounds. Cool. Top with candy
sprinkles or confectioners sugar, or leave plain.
You will need a Pizelles iron to make these cookies.
Beat eggs, gradually adding sugar and beating until smooth Add melted margarine (making sure margarine is fully cooled) and anise extract. Add flour and baking powder gradually to mixture. Dough will be sticky so that you may drop it by rounded teaspoonfuls onto hot pizzelle iron. Cook for approximately 20-40 seconds depending on the brand of iron you have. Dust with powdered sugar.
Makes about 3 dozen pizzelles
Ossi Dei Morti©
(Bones Of The Dead)
I remember these cookies from when I was a child. They are
hard as bones,
2 1/2 cups sifted flour
Blend flour and oil, add 1/2 cup sugar, 2 eggs, 1 tsp
vanilla, orange and lemon rind. Mix well and
Separate eggs and beat egg whites until they form soft peaks.
In a separate bowl beat egg yolks and
sifted pastry flour
Mix 1 cup flour with yeast and 3 tbsp. warm water. Mix well and keep in warm area until dough has doubled in size. With remaining flour, make a well and place yeast dough in it. Add 2 more tbsp. lukewarm water and work the flour in yeast dough, working it well. Add a little more water if needed until dough is soft and the flour has been asorbed. Let stand in warm place for 2 hours. Push dough down with hands to deflate and work in fruits, nuts , cocoa, jam and butter. Work well into dough, and shape into a ring. Place ring on a buttered baking sheet. Let rise 2 1/2 hours in warm place.
Bake in over at 400 degrees for 1 hour. Mix together warm honey and rum. Remove ring from oven and brush with honey and rum mixture.
Di San Giuseppe©
1/2 cup butter
Combine butter, salt and water in saucepan and bring to a boil. Add flour all at one time, and mix well until the dough leaves the sides of the pan. Remove from stove and let cool a little. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one. Add sugar, orange and lemon peel, and mix thoroughly.
Drop by tbsp. on greased baking sheet leaving a 3-inch space between them. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees or until golden brown. Makes about 16 sfingi.
Make a slit inside each puff and fill with Pasticciera cream (see recipe above) or ricotta filling (see cannoli recipe above).
1 1/2 Cups Flour
Place flour on pastry board, and make a well in the middle, and mix the baking powder, eggs, and egg yolks. Mix continually adding the flour towards the middle of the well, until you have a ball of dough. Knead until firm and consistant.
Seperate the dough into 3 portions, and roll out the first portion to about 1/8 inch thick. Sprinkle flour over sparingly to keep from sticking. With a pastry wheel, or ravioli wheel, into rosettes. Drop into about 2 inches of oil at medium heat, making sure the oil is hot enough. When rosettes are golden brown, remove and drain on paper towel.
Heat honey over low heat in saucepan, then drizzle over the crispelle.
Italian Lemon Ice©
2 cups warm water
Melt the sugar in warm water, add lemon juice and lemon rind and let stand 5 minutes and then strain. Place in a metal bowl and place in freezer, stirring frequently until it becomes mushy.
I think it would be very hard to find a spumoni mold nowadays, so instead, use a large 3/4-quart Jell-O mold.
Combine milk, sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla in a saucepan and cook over very low heat, stirring constantly until mixture is thick. Cool, then place in a metal bowl and freeze until mixture is medium hard, about two hours. Mixture should be soft enough to be spooned out easily.
1 qt. strawberries
Wash and hull strawberries, then crush and strain. Add lemon juice and sugar and mix well. Whip cream until stiff, adding confectioner's sugar slowly. Blend in strawberries. Place in spumoni mold, or 1 qt Jell-O mold and cover with wax paper or plastic wrap. Freeze for 2 hrs. Dip in warm water quickly to unmold. Cut into portions of 6 to 8
3 egg yolks
Combine egg, water, sugar and Marsala in top of double boiler, water should be hot, but not boiling. Beat mixture until lukewarm. Remove from hot water part of boiler, and continue beating until foamy and slightly thick. Beat cream thick, and blend with egg mixture. Pour into spumoni or 1 qt Jell-O mold and cover with wax paper or plastic wrap, and freeze 2 hours. Dip in warm water quickly to unmold. Cut into portions of 6 to 8
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