Kipful is a Christmas family recipe from Bridget’s family (German side). I’ll leave it to her –
Open all the packages of butter & cream cheese & let them get to room temperature. Put 1 cup of flour & the salt in the mix master, start dropping in the butter bars one at a time & finish with the cream cheese, then the second cup of flour (I don’t really think the order matters, but that’s the ritual ) I generally triple the recipe – making it one batch at a time & putting each batch when it’s finished into a big bowl. Put in refrigerator until firm – usually over night.
Prep: Preheat a 450 degree oven.
Clear 3 counter spaces – one for flour & rolling out the dough, one for the tray you are loading (do not put on top of stove as this is too hot and the dough melts), and one for powdered sugar when they come out. Leave a space to put the hot tray down & then make a bed of powdered sugar which you will drop the Kipfuls onto when they are still hot. You want one spatula for the dough and a separate one for the powdered sugar.
Get your containers ready by lining them with foil or wax paper or whatever you like and sift a layer of powdered sugar into the bottom of each of them. I generally do all this prep the night before.
Carve out a double handful of dough and put the rest back in the refrigerator. Dust your hands with flour & sprinkle a copious amount on the counter. It’s hard as a rock, so just bear down – try to keep it as close to a rectangle as you can get – then use a table knife to slice 3” squares. Use two teaspoons & put a blob of raspberry preserves in the middle of each square. Use the spatula to slide one square free & then pull the diagonal corners up to the middle & squeeze the sides together.
Into oven & start on next batch of dough. Be sure to check to see if they are turning brown before finishing the 2nd
When they are slightly browned, take tray to powdered sugar station & carefully spatula them right side up on to the bed of sugar. Sift more sugar on top. You can now go back & finish the 2nd When it is in the oven, the finished Kipful should be ready to move to your containers. Put a layer of wax paper between each layer to keep them separated.
This recipes should make about 50 kipfuls. Serve cold.
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9” cake pan with butter and lightly coat with flour.
Beat eggs in a large bowl then add the ricotta. Mix until it’s smooth. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix until it’s smooth, then add the butter and mix some more.
Add the berries last (leaving out about a handful) and carefully mix them in without mashing them too much. Pour the whole mix into the pan and place the remaining berries on top. Bake cake until light golden brown, about 50-60 minutes.
Italian desserts are usually simple. Elaborate cakes and pastries are served at special occasions. Fruit is much more common. Here’s an easy recipe that I got from a friend from Ischia – Grapes and Vinegar. It’s good in summer.
Wash the grapes and put them in a small sauce pan. Cover half way with water and add the vinegar. Bring to a boil, stir, lower heat and simmer until they begin to crack. Turn off the heat and mix in lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar and half of the chopped mint. Let it cool and then mix in the Marsala. Marsala works best but sweet sherry is also OK. Chill and sprinkle with the remaining chopped mint when serving.
I mentioned Annabel Langbein in a previous post – Annabel’s Apple Cake. She’s come up with another easy to-do cake. Her show, The Free Range Cook, from New Zealand, is still on PBS. Check it out. Here’s another of her recipes. She calls it Orange Lightning Cake because its so quick to make. Like her Apple Cake, it’s simple and perfect for dessert or breakfast.
( grams and centigrade converted to US equivalents)
Preheat oven to 325°. Grease an 9-inch-diameter cake pan and line the base with baking paper.
Cut the orange into quarters, remove the seeds and whizz in a food processor until finely chopped. Dissolve baking soda in ½ cup water and add to the food processor with butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and flour. Whizz to combine. Add golden raisins and walnuts and stir with a spoon to just combine (don’t whizz them or they will break up).
Pour into prepared cake tin and bake until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean (about 1 hour).
I don’t bake much and don’t make too many desserts either but this is an exception. I happened to catch a cooking show on PBS and was very impressed by the chef. Her name is Annabel Langbeinand the show is The Free Range Cook. It’s recorded at her home and on location in New Zeeland.
Here’s a recipe for an Annabel’s apple cake (she calls it One Pot Spiced Apple Cake). There are no fussy measurements, techniques and temperature controls to deal with. You don’t need a food processor or blender or any other special equipment. It’s simple and the result is good for dessert or breakfast.
(I converted grams and centigrade to US equivalents)
Pre-heat oven to 325o. Grease and flour the base and sides of spring cake pan.
Melt butter in large sauce pan on medium heat. Turn off heat and mix n apples and sugar, then eggs. Stir in flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon and raisins. Stir to blend.
Pour it into the pan and bake for 1 hour 25 minutes, until risen and browned and top springs back when lightly pressed.
Cool in pan for 15 minutes and remove from pan. Let cool on a wire rack.
“If you get the knack immediately, these are the easiest and prettiest desserts to make; if you don’t – you are doomed.” – Nicki
In order to make the rosettes you must have the “irons”. These can be purchased in any good house ware store. Irons come in different shapes and sizes, but I only use the rosette shape, probably because it is the only one I have had for the past 30 years.
Mix all the ingredients well in a small bowl. Let it stand for five minutes. Place Crisco (not oil or butter, nothing but Crisco. I once tried vegetable oil and had to throw them away. I was not happy, so don’t even try anything but Crisco. I don’t know why it works so well, but if it was good enough for my mother and it works, it’s good enough for me.) in a deep frying pan. The Crisco must be very hot and deep enough to submerge the iron to heat it thoroughly.
When the iron is very hot take it out of the Crisco and put it into the batter. IMPORTANT: Do not cover the top of the iron with the batter, just up to the rim. Then dip the batter-covered iron into the hot Crisco. Hold the handle steady and the batter will fry and the rosette will come off the iron. They may need a little coaxing with a fork. Immediately dip the iron back into the batter. (If the Crisco is hot enough, the iron is hot enough and the gods are with you this will go very smoothly.) Turn the rosettes when they are golden. Remove and drain on paper towels.
Place the drained rosettes in a pretty platter, drizzle them with honey and a good dusting of powdered sugar. They are crisp delights and go well with Asti.
December is coming so here’s Nicki’s recipe for a Christmas standard.
“Struffoli or as my family calls them, Ceci, are made for the Christmas Holidays. Time consuming to make, but well worth it. They are a delicious treat. They are especially good for breakfast on Christmas day; float them in your coffee cup and scoop them up with a spoon. So good!” – Nicki
Mix the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, the 1/4 cup of Crisco and eggs in a mixing bowl. Work the dough with your hands. Then turn the dough onto a floured board. Knead the dough until pliable. Form it into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Flour the board. Cut the dough into ½ inch strips. Roll the strips into rope-like pieces about 8 – 10 inches long. I prefer rolling the dough in my hands but you can roll it on the board. Leave each roll to rest on the floured board as you roll the others. Cut each roll into ½ inch pieces. Roll each of these pieces into balls the size of a ceci (chick pea). I roll them by hand and can do two at a time. (Practice makes perfect). The board should be sufficiently floured so that the Struffoli do not stick together.
Put the Crisco (about four inches deep) in a large heavy-duty pot over medium heat. Drop in one ceci to check the heat of the Crisco. It should brown in a minute or two. Fry the dough in batches until golden. Remove them with a slotted spoon or a spider spoon and drain them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
Heat the honey and water in a pan until it blends. Add the ceci and toss and coat. Arrange in a serving bowl and dust with powdered sugar and sprinkles.