A Christmas Tradition
In this ‘instant’ society of North America, we tend to want everything now and do not like to wait. Some things though can only truly be savoured if we only taste them once a year.
‘Impossible” you say, “why wait? Bake them now”! But that is the secret to ‘Italian Crostoli’ they taste best when eaten only at Christmas.
My great grandparents brought their Crostoli recipe from Italy. Europe seems to have many versions of Crostoli pastries, each with a different name. In the U.S. they are called ‘Angel Wings’. My great aunts called them ‘Nothings’ because they melted in your mouth and you had to have another one.
My grandmother used to bake them just before Christmas and I could hardly wait. I would sit on the kitchen chair quietly watching for the stage where she dropped them in hot oil and I knew she would give me the first one as soon as she sprinkled them with icing sugar.
In our household our baking of Cristoli takes on the air of a t.v. show starting with all the ingredients laid out ready to assemble. It is a team effort with one person measuring, the other getting the oil hot for frying and another sifting the icing sugar.
Of course ‘Rosemary Clooney’ singing “Hey Mambo, Mambo Italiano” in the background is a must, after all this is Italian pastry. Follow along, get out your favorite Italian song, tie on your apron and join the once a year Crostoli bake.
Ingredients (makes 2 dozen)
- 2 cups of flour (all purpose, sifted)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 Tablespoons vanilla
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
Beat eggs and sugar and vanilla with electric beater until light and fluffy. Gradually add dry ingredients with lemon zest into the mixture by hand until dough becomes a ball. Turn dough out on board and knead adding extra flour as needed until it is no longer sticky. Let rest in plastic zip lock bag for one hour.
Separate dough into four sections. Roll out on wooden floured board with a rolling pin until 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 5 inch x 1/8 inch strip with pizza wheel. Make a lengthwise slit about 1 inch long in center of each strip. Pull one end twisted through the slit. Keep remaining dough covered with plastic wrap.
Drop 3 or 4 at a time into hot vegetable oil in large saucepan a depth of 4 inches. Turn once until just starting to brown. They will continue to brown slightly after removal from oil. Drain on paper towels and gently sprinkle with icing sugar. Keep in air tight container. Hide them somewhere until Christmas.
What is your favourite Christmas recipe?
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