Sunday, December 21, 2008

Family Holiday Traditions

By Robin Kaye

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.


  1. Yummy!

    As it happens I bought both rum and vanilla ice cream Friday. Friends are coming over on Tuesday. I'll have to give the recipe a try.

  2. I'm going to end up in a sugar coma by the end of the week...these sound delicious! Thanks, Robin, and have a wonderful Christmas!

  3. Yum! Both recipes look fabulous. Okay, I've never tried the hot buttered rum, but I think it's going on my holiday menu. *G* To share, yesterday I made a peppermint ice cream pie. It's easy and tastes amazing:

    1 Qt peppermint ice cream [*I normally buy Edys, but as I'm now in TX and they don't have it here, I bought a qt of chocolate peppermint ice cream at Cold Stone.]
    Cool whip
    Chocolate fudge ice cream topping
    Crushed peppermint
    Oreo Crust

    To make: layer oreo crust 3/4th full. Add a layer of cool whip. Pour a layer of warm fudge. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint, then put on the plastic lid and freeze until you wish to serve. It's easy and the cool whip makes a perfect foil for the strong peppermint. Happy Holidays! Enjoy!

    Diana Cosby
    His Captive/Alexander MacGruder
    His Woman/Duncan MacGruder - 4 star Romantic Times review!

  4. Hi Robin!
    As it happens, food is one of my very favorite things---holidays or not :))
    That really sounds like some awesome hot buttered rum, of course anything with ice cream is bound to be good!
    Thanks for sharing :)) Ellen

  5. Yum, Robin, I'm ending up with some fabulous recipes this holiday season. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, Casablanca Authors and Readers.

  6. Don't have any ice cream, but, hey, I've always got rum....
    It all sounds great, Robin.
    With all the great recipes that are popping up, I think we should consider getting together and writing The Romance Writer's Cookbook. It's sure to be a bestseller!

  7. Hi everyone!

    I'm always awaiting the first real cold snap to hit so I have an excuse to make a batch of Hot Buttered Rum mix. Since I found out I'm both lactose intolerant and allergic to dairy, I've been doing a soy hot buttered rum, it's not as good, but not that bad either.

    Diana, thanks for the peppermint ice cream pie recipe! It sounds so yummy. My DH and kids are true mint lovers. I'll have to make it.

    MM, I'm sure your friends will love it, Oh, and I read SEALed With A Kiss yesterday. I was in bed with a fever. I have to tell you, you had me in tears and that's not easy to do. I loved it! Getting an afternoon to read SWAK made getting sick almost enjoyable. Thanks!

    Ellen, I'm with you. Food is definitely a highlight of my life. Enjoy!

    Donnell~ Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have the best of holidays.

    Cheryl~ Time to run to the store and get some good Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and I think the Romance Writer's Cookbook is a great idea!

    Robin :) Who is not only starting to sound like Santa, sadly, she's starting to look like him too. Ho Ho Ho. Merry Christmas and Happy holidays

  8. I haven't had hot buttered rum in so long. I'll have to pick up the fixins for it tomorrow.

    A Romance Writers Cookbook. I'll contribute my sweet potato pie. made it for the first time and fudged it, hubby said it was the BEST pie he'd ever eaten. Of course, he loves sweets, so he has a short memory.

  9. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  10. These sound and look delicious. Just the thing for a cold winter's day like today.

  11. One word: Yum!

    Now if the repairman can fix my stove, maybe I can have some.

  12. Once upon a time rum was my favorite liquor. Now I do not drink, but if I did, this would be my choice for a cold day! Sounds absolutely yummy.

    Now the honey balls are a different matter! My, oh my! I am writing that one down. It sounds very Southern as well - which are my roots. Everything in the South is fried in fat and smothered in honey!

    Thanks Robin! Have a very Merry Christmas!!

  13. Welcome Susan! We're all so happy you've joined us!


    Steph-Good luck with that repair man, I hope he's cute and skilled.

    Marley, send me your sweet potato pie recipe please. My kids consider sweet potatoes desert as it is. In pie form, my kids will think they've died and gone to heaven. You have my email addy.

    Michelle enjoy! Sharon, this is good even without the rum (my kids love it) you can use a little almond extract or any of the extracts to give it a little more flavor.

    Hugs to all.......Robin :)