Happy Holidays from My Blog to You!

christmas styling

Wishing you and yours a most joyous holiday season and a prosperous New Year! Also, I think this is the perfect time to express my appreciation and gratitude for the love and support of my dear readers. Thank you for visiting, liking, commenting and following! Stay safe and enjoy your vacation with family and friends – see you in 2018!

Love,

Fruzsi

Photo & styling: Anna Kvarnström

Friday Finds

You’ve still got time to make a batch of iced gingerbread cookies! For some inspo, check out these little beauties:

By Yvonne of Fraulein Klein:

gingerbread icing

By Julie of Shoots Knits and Leaves:

gingerbread icing

By Amanda and Aaron of Pickles & Honey:

gingerbread icing

By Eva Blixman via Roomdeco:

gingerbread icing

By Kinga of Green Morning:

gingerbread icing

Happy weekend!

Fruzsi

You’ve Got Bread Pudding, We Have THIS

hungarian makos guba

Christmas is unthinkable in Central-Eastern Europe without sweets made with nuts. If it’s mostly walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds in your region, depends on the climate but all of us in the heart of Europe bake similar traditional holiday treats.

And there is another very important ingredient in Hungarian kitchens around festive season: poppy seeds. The symbol of richness, also supposed to bring you luck. Such a favorite many of us enjoy it all year round.

We use poppy seeds in a great many recipes from bejgli (a poppy or walnut filled pastry roll), to nudli (small potato dumplings sprinkled with sugared poppy seeds) to rétes (strudel) to flódni (a Hungarian-Jewish pastry with layers of fillings), and I could just go on and on.

If you happen to have some sweet type of bread that dried on you – because you forgot to put it in the freezer – you are in luck! Your negligence just landed you the opportunity to try the one particular poppy-based dessert that’s intentionally not listed above: mákos guba (pron. maa-kosh goo-bah).

It’s a great and easy recipe to repurpose leftover, dry bread. Whatever you have on hand works from regular white bread to brioche, buns, crescent rolls and the like. Just avoid sourdough or whole-wheat loaves; the savory flavors don’t make them suited to a sweet bread pudding.

Because mákos guba is a kind of bread pudding: the pastry slices are layered in a baking dish, softened with sweetened milk, sprinkled with ground poppy and powdered sugar, than baked until the middles are soft and the top is crunchy and golden.

hungarian makos guba

I always liked this dessert but only begin really loving it when I deviated a little from the family recipe and traded in crescents for challah and sugared milk for crème anglaise. That seriously raised the bar! This new and improved mákos guba made it from a frugal weekend dish right to our holiday table: as part of creating new traditions for ourselves with the Husband, it’s going to be dessert after a hearty soup for lunch on December 24th.

Here’s how I make it:

Hungarian Poppy Seed Guba

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Sweet bread pudding layered with vanilla-flavored custard and ground poppy seeds. Serves 4.

Ingredients

100 g poppy seeds, ground

80 g powdered sugar

an 500 g (1 lb) challah or brioche, a little dry, cut to 14-16 slices

800 ml whole milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 egg yolks

50 g granulated sugar

2 tbsp butter

Directions

Make crème anglaise:

  1. Heat milk and vanilla in a heavy bottomed saucepan until steaming, but not boiling.
  2. While milk is heating, whisk the egg yolks with the granulated sugar until pale.
  3. Temper custard: whisking constantly, slowly but steadily add hot milk to egg mixture.
  4. Transfer back to saucepan and cook on low heat for a few minutes until the consistency of a pouring sauce is reached. Set aside, divided: use 500 ml to soak challah, reserve 300 ml to serve.

Arrange guba:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (355F), butter a deep baking dish using 1 tbsp of the butter.
  2. Mix poppy seeds with powdered sugar.
  3. Cover bottom of dish with challah slices. Soak slices with custard, than sprinkle generously with the poppy mixture. Continue layering until you run out of challah.
  4. Put remaining butter pieces on top and bake until golden, about 30 min. Enjoy warm, served with remaining crème anglaise and/or whipped cream.

 

Love,

Fruzsi

Friday Finds

Have you planned the holiday menu yet? I’ve still to test a few recipes, but it’s coming together. Below are some gorgeous examples on how to dress up a simple cake for Christmas.

By Hannah of Domestic Gothess:

christmas cake

By Erin of Erin Made This:

christmas cake

Photo by Ruth Black via Stocksy:

christmas cake

By Tessa of Style Sweet CA:

christmas cake

By Joanna of Liebesbotschaft:

christmas cake

Happy weekend!

Fruzsi

Friday Finds

This year I’m seriously considering a minimal festive decor with more greenery and less everything shiny, starting with the Christmas wreath. Who even said it has to be circular, right?

By Marij of My Attic:

minimal wreath

By Leesa of The Makers Society:

minimal wreath

By Rachel of Made From Scratch:

minimal wreath

By Fleur McHarg via Vogue Australia:

minimal wreath

By Francesca of Fall For DIY:

minimal wreath

Happy weekend!

Fruzsi

 

Friday Finds

Have you seen Zara Home‘s Holiday Collection? Guess it’s not yet not too early for Christmas, but these are just so pretty I have to show you:

Candelabra with clear square base:

zara home candelabra

Cutlery with white handle:

zara home cutlery

Porcelain three level serving dish with mistletoe motif:

zara home serving stand

Mistletoe print table runner:

zara home table runner

Napkin rings with burgundy berry details:

zara home napkin ring

Happy weekend!

Fruzsi

Friday Finds

I wish all of you peace and so much love!

Holiday colors (photo by Ania via Flickr):

decor with red berries

Festive ornaments (garland decor by DwellStudio):

ornament garland

Christmas morning rituals (winter cookies by 79 ideas, photo by radostina):

cups and cookies

The house smelling of gingerbread (photo by Migle Seikyte):

dough and cookie cutters

A village of lanterns (via Pinterest):

house lanterns

Happy weekend and a Merry Christmas to all! See you in January.

Fruzsi

Family Heirloom Vanillekipferl

vanillekipferl title

Fact: in this part of the old continent there is no Christmas without Vanillekipferl. These crescent-shaped biscuits are very popular in the Advent season throughout Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Slovakia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Romania and in my home country.

To confuse you, we all call them different names, but shhh! they are virtually the same. I’ve decided to refer to them by their German title in this post simply because I thought it will be the most familiar of the bunch.

Legend has it the flaky, buttery pastry was created to celebrate the 1683 victory of the Austro-Hungarian army over the Ottoman Turks in the siege of Vienna: the shape of the cookie is said to represent the half-moon of the Turkish flag.

Wether this is true or not, Vanillekipferl spread and soon become a festive specialty in Central-Eastern Europe. The dough is a simple shortcrust or shortbread pastry enriched with ground walnuts, almonds or hazelnut depending on family tradition (= what your folks could get), shaped into tiny horseshoes, dusted generously with vanilla sugar.

Now, I could call my recipe the Best Ever Vanilla Crescents or Impossible Christmas Biscuits, but those attributes are so overused. Also, this pastry is assumably not the best, nor is it impossible. What it is is sweet and humble, just like my beloved granny who taught me how to make it.

Vanillakipferl is more than a winter treat for us though: it’s tradition, family and the essence of Christmas in a delicious bite the size of your pinky. Ask anyone from this region, childhood memories will be sure to pop up regarding the delicate little crescents.

And today I’m giving you my family heirloom recipe, just in time for the holidays. They probably won’t be the star of the holiday table when it comes to looks, but these crescents make Christmas magic happen. Just watch!

Oh, and don’t even bother making one batch, double the recipe! It will quickly disappear.

vanillekipferl closeup

Vanillekipferln (Traditional Christmas Vanilla Crescents)

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

200 g (7 oz) butter or margarine

280 g (10 oz or 2 ¼ cup) all-purpose flour

50 g (1.78 oz or ¼ cup) granulated sugar

100 g (3.5 oz or ¾ cup) finely ground walnuts

1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1 pack (8 g or 1 ½ tsp) vanilla sugar mixed, for dusting

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients with your hands until dough comes together.
  2. Shape dough into a ball, wrap in cling foil and let rest in the fridge at least 2 hours, or as long as overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 175°C / 350°F, line baking tray with parchment paper.
  4. Divide dough into two parts. Work with one portion at a time, put remaining dough back in the fridge (when cool, it’s easier to shape and crescents hold better during baking)
  5. Pinch off chunks from the chilled dough, shape into crescents the size of your pinky.
  6. Place crescents on baking sheet a little apart.
  7. Bake for 25 min, until slightly golden on the sides.
  8. Gently roll in vanilla sugar to coat while still warm.

Yields approx. 75 crescents, filling 1 and a half baking trays. Stored in an airtight container, vanilla crescents are delicios for weeks.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for all!

Love,

Fruzsi

Friday Finds

Advent: the time to listen for footsteps – you can’t hear footsteps when you’re running yourself.

Bill McKibben

Smitten with Danish design (photo from Søstrene Grene Christmas Catalog):

danish christmas decor

Always remember:

you are enough calligraphy

Gingerbread ornaments (“white cookies” photo by Nina Gabelica):

gingerbread ornament

Rusty star garland available at Cox & Cox:

rusty star garland

Sparrows in the snow by Kevin Winterhoff:

sparrows in the snow

Happy weekend!

Fruzsi