Nostalgia, Powdered Sugar and Family

Desserts / December 18, 2013

It happens every year, that first moment when the spirit of Christmas overwhelms you and you feel warm tears on your cheeks, your heart beating in peace, and you just understand what love has meant in your life. That moment happened, not surprisingly while making my first batch of Christmas cookies about 2 weeks ago, and listening to Manheim Steamroller sing “I’ll be Home for Christmas.” The smell of chocolate, the twinkling of lights and certainly the smiles on those for whom I cooked all combined to satisfy that deep longing for tradition.

Speaking of tradition, we just returned from a short trip to see my best friend in Indiana, reconnecting with friends and gorging on a plethora of tastes and textures. Her daughter, Kaitylyn, is now also a budding cook, her 12 years belying her maturity and intuition for things. A lot of her passion for food has come from her grandma, Mary Ann who spent nearly all her time during our visit, hunched over the stove lovingly wrapping savory golumpkis, rolling dozens of veal meatballs, and even cooking one of my husband’s childhood favorites, the beloved Chrusciki (a fried pastry dough that is served covered, and I do mean covered, with powdered sugar). I share the recipe and the moments with you here today because we all come from something, and the way to find that connection is surely through the recipes and foods we love.

Chruscikis (Polish Crullers)

Recipe courtesy MaryAnn Sakich

½ pint sour cream
9 egg yolks
4 T sugar
Pinch of salt
½ t vanilla
3 C flour
Powdered sugar for sprinkling

Beat yolks, add sugar, salt and vanilla. Add sour cream and mix. Add flour all at once. Knead the dough, and then let rest for at least 10 minutes before rolling out. Roll out to 1/8 inch thick or less, making it VERY thin so that when they cook there is a bit of a snap when you bite them. Slice into 1 and a half-inch by 5-inch strips. Invert one end and pull through the hole. Lay on wax paper. Preheat a pan with at least 2 inches of hot oil. Add the dough, cooking only a few at a time so that each can roll and cook quickly in the hot oil. Turn over after a minute or so and cook on the other side. Take out and place on paper towels. Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar. Store out, in a bowl.

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