Gingerbread cookies and gingerbread cookies, muffins and cakes – it is not surprising that, according to statistics, during winter holiday feasts, Europeans manage to gain from one to four kilograms of excess weight.
According to the precepts of the Vikings
A curious Christmas dish originally from Scandinavia is the round donuts ebliskyver. They can be safely called an echo of war, because the legend says that for the first time eblleskyver were prepared by a Viking detachment that won a bloody battle. The warriors decided to celebrate such an important event with a dinner with pancakes, and since they did not take pans with them on the campaign, they used shields and helmets as kitchen utensils – this explains the unusual shape of the donuts. It is equally interesting that although the name eblleskyver literally translates as “apple slices”, apples are absent in the modern recipe for Danish Christmas baking. Donut dough is made from wheat flour, eggs, sugar, butter and cream, and there is a Christmas treat with raspberry, currant or strawberry jam
There is little reliable information about the Yule holiday. The longest night of the year was considered by the ancient Germanic peoples to be the time of the revival of the Sun King, who, with the arrival of spring, warmed the frozen earth with his rays, and at the same time endowed the seeds stored in barns with the ability to bear fruit. The dwellings were decorated with branches of holly, mistletoe and ivy, and in addition, a Yule log was brought into the house, which was to be set on fire in the fireplace on the night of December 21-22 and left to smolder for twelve days. In Germany, after the adoption of Christianity, the pagan tradition was transformed into the custom of decorating a Christmas tree adopted today, but in neighboring France, the Yule log is present in houses to this day. True, in the form of a sweet roll of biscuit dough. In order to give the roll more portrait resemblance to a log, the sweetness is generously covered with a cream of chocolate and whipped cream, it is sprinkled with powdered sugar, symbolizing snow, and decorated with edible figurines in the form of leaves and mushrooms. By the way, the modern name of the dessert bu ^ che de Noёl, or Christmas log, was fixed in French only in the first half of the 20th century. Before it was called exclusively Yule.
From Italy with love
With Italian Christmas cake panettonethere is also a curious legend connected, which has nothing to do with Christian traditions. However, in contrast to the harsh Scandinavian folklore, the center of her plot is not feats of arms, but amorous interest. It is believed that the recipe for Christmas cake, the name of which stands for “Tony’s bread”, was invented in the 13th century by a young man named Ulivo, who was passionately in love with the baker’s daughter and wanted to impress her father. Burning with passion, he invented a recipe for the most delicate bun with candied fruits, which he shared with Tony, the daddy of his sweetheart. Further – as it should be in fairy tales: Ulivo married his beloved, and her baker father made a fortune selling Easter cakes. However, if we digress from legends and turn to history, then the custom of eating panettone at Christmas is most likely associated with strict class rules, adopted in Milan in the 15th century. According to them, the poor and people of low birth, even with money, had no right to buy pastries made from wheat flour, which was considered the privilege of the nobility. Christmas, on the other hand, was the only day of the year when anyone received the right to taste the valuable white bread, regardless of their origin or social status.
The Icelandic tradition of roasting laufabrauð leaf bread on the eve of Christmas also has pagan roots. It is not for nothing that ornaments in the form of snowflakes, runes or flashes of the northern lights are cut out on cakes, thin, like paper napkins. By the way, a simple snack a couple of centuries ago was considered food of the gods in Iceland, since wheat did not ripen in the cold local climate, and there were no mills on the island until the 18th century. At that time, the Danes were engaged in the supply of flour to Iceland. As monopolists, they shamelessly raised prices and often could sell to the local population a product that was pretty tainted by mold. As a result, life forced the inhabitants of the island to learn how to cook incredibly thin cakes, so that all family members would have enough treats during the festive feast. By the way, in Icelandic Christmas is still called the word “Yule”.
How did other Christmas sweets come about?
Turron is a Christmas candy made of honey, egg white, sugar and almonds, popular in Spain, Italy, Czech Republic and France. The first turron recipe is found in a Spanish culinary reference of the 16th century, but its prototype for nougat was made in Europe back in the days of ancient Rome.
It is said that the recipe for Christmas gingerbread and cookies was brought to Europe in 992 by the Armenian monk Grigory Nikopolsky. He taught the art of baking them to the French, and then the inhabitants of Poland, Germany and Sweden adopted the tradition.
Burning plum pudding is considered the main Christmas dish in Great Britain. It is prepared several weeks before the holiday, before serving, brandy is poured over and set on fire, which symbolizes the passion of Christ. The dish was invented in the 19th century, when fruits and spices from the colonies began to arrive in Great Britain.
In addition to panettone, another popular Christmas delicacy in Italy is the pandoro cupcake, whose name translates as “golden bread”. Its modern recipe was invented in 1894 by Domenico Melegatti, a native of Verona. He was inspired by the records of desserts that Venetian aristocrats indulged themselves with in the 13th century.
German Christmas cake Stollen in the Middle Ages was horribly tasteless. It was cooked in water with rapeseed oil, and the Germans had to beg permission to add butter to the dough from Pope Innocent VII. Now the stollen is stuffed with candied fruits, nuts and raisins, and sprinkled with powdered sugar on top.