Festive treats from around the world

As Sir Cliff nearly said, Christmas is a time for giving and a time for eating, so here are some of our favourite Christmas recipes from around the globe – great for a Christmas get together!

Swiss Spitzbuben - Little Rascal Biscuits

Spitzbuben
or ‘little rascals’…

Makes about 24:

100g flour
50g icing sugar
100g  butter
1 medium egg yolk
50g ground almonds
Few drops vanilla extract
50g raspberry jam
Icing sugar to dust


Instructions
:  Beat the soft butter, icing sugar, vanilla extract and the egg yolk until light and fluffy. Then add the almonds and flour then knead to a smooth dough.  Wrap in cling-film and chill in the fridge for an hour. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 180C (170C fan assisted, gas mark 4) and line baking sheets with baking paper. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about half a centimeter thickness and cut out circles. Divide the circles into two piles – these will be the tops and bottoms of the biscuits. In the ‘tops’ cut out shapes in the centre with a sharp knife.  Bake on middle shelf for 8-10 mins until pale golden in colour.  Cool on a wire rack. When cool, spread the jam on the bottom halves and sandwich together with the tops.  Dust with icing sugar and enjoy!

German shortbread

300g flour
240g caster sugar
10g vanilla sugar
200g butter
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons cream

Instructions:  Melt the butter in a pan over a low heat, until it goes slightly brown. Set aside and leave to cool. Whisk the cooled butter with two thirds of the plain sugar and all of the vanilla sugar, until pale and frothy. Add cream, flour and salt and quickly knead into a smooth dough.  Roll out on a floured board to the thickness of 1 inch.  Use a cutter to cut out rounds.  Pat the rounds out slightly and coat in caster sugar (if you’re using coarse sugar, brush the rounds with a little beaten egg first). Cover in cling film and chill, bake at 200°C / Gas mark 6 (180°C in a fan assisted oven) for 10 – 12 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.

Sicilian Kresperdi /Crispeddi

8 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoon salt
2 sachets of dry yeast dissolved in 3/4 cup warm water (takes 8 minutes)
1 ½ tsp baking powder
3 cups warm water

Instructions: Sift flour, salt and baking powder into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the dissolved yeast mixture. Mix thoroughly. Add lukewarm water a little at a time and keep beating with a wooden spoon until bubbles begin to form in the soft dough (about 15-20 minutes). Use olive oil to lightly oil a clean bowl, transfer the dough than brush the top of the dough with oil, cover with cling film and place in a warm spot to prove until doubled in size.

To deep fry: Heat vegetable oil (350F / 180C  in a deep fryer) in a large pan (do not over fill and it is wise not to leave hot oil unattended – safety first)  Oil your hands and drop pieces of dough carefully into the hot oil a few at a time, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Use a slotted spoon to remove, drain on kitchen paper, then spoon honey on each.

Christmas Around The WorldBlow Out Chilean Holiday Fruitcake -
Pan de Pascua

1 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons
Zest of one orange
Zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon strong brewed coffee
1/2 cup brandy, pisco, or rum
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 tablespoons aniseed flavour liqueur, e.g. Sambucca
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 cup nuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup dried cherries, finely chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins, family chopped
1/2 cup raisins, finely chopped

Instructions:  Set out four bowls (or a big bowl, two containers and a jug).  Mix the zests into the dry fruit and nuts and set to one side for later. In your largest bowl, cream butter and sugars until pale. Beat in a little egg at a time, until all the egg in combined with the butter and sugar mixture.  In a separate bowl, sift the flour and all of the spices and salt. In the last bowl or jug, whisk the liquids together – including coffee, brandy (or rum/pisco), evaporated milk, anise liqueur, vanilla and vinegar.  Alternate between adding a little of the dry ingredients and a little of the liquids into the big bowl of eggs/butter/sugar. Fold in the dried fruit and nut mixture.  Grease and line a 9 inch tin. Bake for45 minutes in a moderate oven (about 180°C  or gas mark 4) with the top covered with foil or baking paper, then remove the covering for the last 15 mins.  Turn onto a wire rack to cool.  Ice with a simple icing (icing sugar and cold water).

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