For December, the bloggers at Eat The World are celebrating Christmas. The challenge this month is to explore and share a recipe from anywhere in the world that is served at Christmastime. Since I’m still doing my literature/recipe challenges, I wasn’t sure I would be participating this month. (NOTE NOTE NOTE: This project is only for 2019. In 2020 I will be sharing recipes in the shape of cookbook reviews. This will be another yearlong project. 2021 could bring something different.) But as I was going through the recipes I haven’t made yet from the books I’ve read this year, I realized that that the dish I was going to make for this book was already a festive dish. I’ll tell you more in a minute about the recipe and the importance of the recipe in a minute.
Another of my goals this year was to go to a Free Little Library. I’ve gone a few times this year, but this is the first book I took out of one of them. I had heard about it before and it was a good book for me to snag, because it’s my favorite genre: WWII historical fiction. Rated 4.29 stars on goodreads at the time I’m writing this, I gave the book 5 stars.
This book is told through three separate narrators: Kasia (a Polish woman who survives the concentration camps,) Caroline (an American woman involved in humanitarian work,) and Herta (a German woman who was a doctor at the concentration camps.) This book gives a tragic glance of the life of a survivor of the atrocities that were performed on the political prisoners of Hitler and the Nazi party.
Though not a foodie book, there was a lot of food mentioned:
- Waldorf salad.
- Warm bread and buttery escargot.
- Tinned peas, two potatoes, and a sad little cabbage.
- Chop suey and rice cakes.
- Light sandwiches.
- Tuorog, a Russian peasant dish of farmer’s cheese infused with blackberry syrup.
- Creme brulee.
- Khachapuri, buttery bread cut in triangles.
- Apple kugel.
- Shiny, braided bread.
- Coq au vin.
- Chocolate ice cream.
- Hanukkah doughnuts.
- Cheese sandwich.
- Pork roast and buttered potatoes.
- Fatty pork chops.
- Buche de Noel.
- Lukewarm yellowish soup.
- Bread and cheese.
- Polish chocolates.
- Bread pudding.
- Rib roast and popover.
- Real coffee and salami.
- Poppy seed cake.
- Fish sandwiches.
- Fried onions and mashed potatoes with applesauce.
- Hot rolls and fresh butter.
- Princess cake and pitepalt dumplings with butter and lingonberry jam.
- Onion soup.
- Pierogies and beet soup and hunter’s stew.
- Miniature American breakfast: a tin of diced ham and eggs, Nescafe coffee, cellophaned crackers, a pack of Wrigley’s gum.
- Apple tart with creme fraiche.
- Liver mousse canapes.
- Coconut washboard cookies.
- Fig newtons.
- Emerald peas, a hill of mashed-up potatoes, a puddle of brown sauce on top.
- Crepes and quiches.
- Petite fours.
I chose to make the Polish poppy seed cake. It made it’s way into the story when Kasia was at the concentration camps. She receives a package from her Papa:
“In the tin were three cloth-wrapped bundles. I unwrapped the first to reveal what was left of a poppy-seed cake. Were they being generous since it was Christmas? I tasted a crumb and thanked God for creating the poppy flower.”
As I learned thanks to the internet, Makowiec, or the Polish poppy seed cake, is a must-have at both Christmas and Easter. Makowiec is a must-have at the big holidays, but it’s apparently available year round in Poland. The poppy seeds are said to bring good luck.
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup + 2 tsp sugar (divided)
1 packet yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp + 1 tsp softened unsalted butter, divided
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
5 oz poppy seeds
1 egg white
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1/2 cup raisins
1 tbsp olive oil
- Place the poppy seeds into a bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for several hours or overnight.
- Heat the milk to 110 degrees. Pour the milk into a large bowl and mix together with the yeast and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Set aside for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, add the flour, salt, egg yolk, 2 tbsp of butter, and vanilla into the bowl with the yeast/milk mixture. Mix together with your hands, kneading into a shaggy dough. The dough may be sort of sticky and that’s okay. Cover with a kitchen towel and set in a warm place for 90 minutes.
- Punch down the dough. Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 10 inches by 14 inches. If the dough is sticky, use some flour to avoid it sticking to the rolling pin.
- Drain the poppy seeds. Place them in a food processor and process until ground. Add the egg white, honey, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 tsp of butter, and raisins to the food process and process until all combined.
- Spread the poppy seed mixture onto the rolled out dough, avoiding the edges.
- Starting on the long side, roll the dough into a log – jelly roll style. Pinch the edges together. Place on a parchment paper covered baking sheet, seam side down. Cover with a towel and let side for 40 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Beat together your remaining egg and olive oil. Brush over the bread loaf.
- Bake for 35 minutes. Let cool before slicing into 1/2 inch slices.
- Makes 1 loaf.
Check out all the wonderful Christmas/holiday dishes and sweets prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us!
Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Glædelig Jul, Nisser, and Mormor Agnes’ Æbleskiver
Literature and Limes: Makowiec
Palatable Pastime: Danish Asier Pickles
Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Lebkuchenherzen (German Cookies)
Chipa by the Dozen: Pepperkaker (Norwegian Christmas Cookies)
Evelyne: Oliebollen, the Dutch Doughnut
Loreto and Nicoletta: Sandbakkelse, Norwegian Christmas Cookies
Simply Inspired Meals: Classic Christmas Spritz Cookies
A Day in the Life on the Farm: Bohemian Potato Salad
Making Miracles: Scottish Steak Pie
Margaret at Kitchen Frau: Basler Leckerli, Swiss Christmas cookies