Ninth Day of Christmas

IMG_3739It’s Snowing Today.
A Great Day for Baking!

I have found that doing my Christmas Baking a bit Later in the Holiday,
It is received with Great Appreciation.
As one friend put it, “This is Great! It arrives just when all the other stuff is gone, and you’re craving a treat!”
I Always send Home-Baked Cookies to my Accountant.
He is Wonderful!
His entire Office seems to Appreciate it.

And apparently, Home-Baked Cookies are less common than they were years ago.
And since January is a Wildly Busy Time at an Accounting Firm,
They seem to arrive at just the right moment every year.

Is there any Holiday Baking you wanted to try this year?
A New Kind of Cookie?
Have you wanted to try Baking, even if it’s not something you’ve done before?
It’s not too Late.
And no doubt, there are a lot of Potentially Grateful Recipients in your Sphere just waiting to partake of your Heretofore Undiscovered Baking Talents…
The only Baking I do Before Christmas is My GrandMother’s Stroufeli.
I make it pretty much the way that she did
And it connects me to her and to my heritage in a very visceral way.

It is one of these complicated Italian Recipes from an era where People Baked on a given day, and that was all you did.
It is wildly Time Consuming.
And fitting it into the hectic days leading up to Christmas is one of those Bold Gestures of Proclaiming a Priority —
Declaring, “This is Important to Me and to the People in my Life!”
And you just Do it!
MOM Loves it of course, as it is a Treat from her Childhood.
And it resonates with my Relatives who all remember GRANDMA’s.

And I Learn So Much in those Quiet Hours of Single Focus on this One Task…
It is easy to understand why the Little Old Italian Ladies of Days Gone By would do this.
It was a kind of Zen Study, as Cooking is often wont to be.
The Life Lessons and inherent History resound…
You start without a bowl.
You make a well of flour right on the table
(I use a Cutting Board, for Sanitary Reasons),
and break the Eggs into it.
Only a century ago, people were poor — They didn’t have Food Processors.
They didn’t have Bowls.
That didn’t mean that they couldn’t have Christmas! And Marvelous Treats!
They just mixed right on the table.

You mix the Eggs into the flour. Then the Oil…
While Mixing, the Eggs may leak through the wall of flour and run all over the table and sometimes down to the floor.
Try your Best to incorporate the eggs back in before they get too far afield,
It will Get Better.
You want to work with the Dough As Wet As Possible…
This is Messy and Difficult, but not without Reward.
It Sticks to your hands and seems Impossible.
You may add slightly more flour, just to get through, but not much
It would be So Much Easier If you just added enough flour to dry out the dough so that you could work with it, without it sticking…
Not an Option if you want a Delicious Light and Airy Result.
Knead the Dough.
It takes the Time it Takes.
Just like a Good Career, there is No ShortCut to this.
It takes Time.
Might even be more time than you would like.
Tear off small pieces and roll them into ropes.
The Ropes will try to contract back to their original shape.
Roll them again, slightly firmer this time, until you get thin ropes.
Then Slice the ropes into very small pieces.
It’s nice if the pieces are round, but they probably won’t be.
Life is like that.
I don’t look like BRAD PITT. But I can still do things!
And your Stroufeli may not be Perfect Rounds.
But they can still be Delicious!
Fill them into Saucers.
Fry ‘em a Saucer-full at a time in heated oil.
Several Years ago, my Partner got me a Fryer for Christmas expressly for this purpose.
An Awesome Innovation in Stroufeli Making.
I am So Grateful to him for his Gift
And for the flack he took
(What!? You want me to Not Use My GrandMother’s Stroufeli Pot!!!???)
No matter what you use, after a few batches, the oil will start to bubble up uncontrollably.
So, Do Like the Little Old Italian Ladies.
Stick a Wooden Spoon in there and that will help to bring the temperature down, and decrease the foam.
They will likely stick together and you will have to spoon them out and help them apart with a knife as they are frying.
It is Difficult.
It is Dangerous.
You might get burned.
Drain ‘em in a Colander over a Bowl to get some of the oil off.
Then, let ‘em rest on Paper Towel to get More of the oil off.
Then, move them into a dish with More Paper Towels so they can drain some more.
Create a Kind of Assembly Line.
There is No Shortcut to this process.
And the Clean-Up Process is fairly elaborate.
There is No App for Stroufeli.
It takes the time it takes.
And Some Twelve Hours Later,
The result is Stunning
And Festive
And Christmas is Here!

Day Nine

# # #

Leave a comment

1 Comment

  1. That looks amazing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: