Most of my family traditions revolve around food. I know, it's not surprising to you who have come to know me. I thought I'd share two of my favorite holiday recipes.
Hot Buttered Rum
1 pint vanilla bean ice cream
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon lemon peel
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
Beat mixture until smooth. This can be kept frozen to use whenever you want.
To make a cup, take two heaping tablespoons of the mixture, add once ounce dark or light rum and approximately 1/2 cup boiling water. Stir and serve with a cinnamon stick or candy cane.
The second recipie is for something my grandmother used to call pingulata. I've heard it called Struffoli or Honey Balls elsewhere. This is an incredible dessert only made at Christmas time. It's small balls of fried dough covered with honey and sprinkles. It's decedent. I remember the few years I lived away from my Sicilian grandparents, my Nana would send a box with oranges, grapefruit and lemons from their trees and a package of pingulata. The pingulata was always the highlight of the holidays for me.
3 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon butter - softened
1 cup honey
1/2 cup + 1 teaspoon sugar
vegetable oil for deep-frying
Beat together eggs, butter, 1 teaspoon sugar until foamy. Add baking powder and flour.
Work the mixture into a soft dough with your hands and divide into 4 pieces.
On a floured surfase, roll each piece into a rope about the width of your pointer finger. Cut the ropes into about 3/4 inch pieces. Dust the pieces with flour, shake off the excess.
Heat oil to 375 degrees F in a deep fryer. Fry the Pingulata a few handfuls at a time until they puff up and turn golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towel to drain.
Combine honey and the 1/2 cup of sugar in a large saucepan over low heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Keep warm over low heat. Add the balls a few at a time, turn them with a wooden spoon to coat all sides. Transfer the balls to a large platter and mound them into a pyramid, shaping with wet hands. Sprinkle with the colored sprinkles and let stand for 1 - 2 hours. Then just break off a few pieces with your hands and eat. Oh yeah, and you'll want to invite me. Yum!
I hope all your dreams come true, and that you and yours have a joyous holiday season full of love, family, food and fun.