- Polish Makowiec Christmas recipe
- Turrón de Jijona Christmas recipe from Spain
- Kourabiethes Christmas recipe from Greece
It’s Christmas! It’s that time of year when we all get a little warm and fuzzy inside just thinking about it!
Ahh, what kind of Christmas would it be without kids standing outside on a cold, crisp Christmas Eve peering up into the dusk trying to be the first to spot the little star Gwiazdka appearing and shout "the star has come!" before sitting down to break the Christmas opłatek wafer and scoffing down the twelve traditional Christmas dishes at a table decorated with hay?
Would it be Christmas without anxiously watching TV to see if you’ve won a share of the €2 billion jackpot in “the fat one” Christmas lottery while the children beat the Christmas log with sticks as they sing the Caga Tió song and wait for him to poop out sweets? 🎁
And would a Christmas without listening to carolers singing kalanta on your doorstep praising your lovely home as you stand in the glow of the fairy lights decorating your traditional Christmas Boat just feel the same? 🤶
A Christmas without...wait, what?
People all over the world celebrate Christmas, but they do it in lots of marvellously different ways.
The customs mentioned above, from Poland, Spain and Greece, are just a sample of the many diverse and interesting international Christmas traditions.
So, at a time of year when we all come together to celebrate, we thought we would share a few Christmas recipes enjoyed in other countries. These are the perfect treats to make with your kids and a great way to open their minds and help them learn and love other cultures!
Christmas recipes from around the world
Polish Makowiec Christmas recipe⛄
Kids will love this pretty poppy seed cake which looks like an especially artistic species of Swiss roll. Makowiec is eaten in Poland as a special treat at Christmas to ensure good luck and prosperity in the coming year.
Legend has it that King Stanisław loved makowiec so much that he was given one that was more than 4 meters long as a Christmas present in the 18th Century. This Christmas recipe is also enjoyed in many other countries across central and eastern Europe.Ingredients to make the dough:
- 4oz (110g) of melted unsalted butter
- 5 large eggs
- 8 cups (1024g) of flour
- 2 cups of warmed up milk
- A pinch of salt
- ¾ cup of sugar
- ¼oz (7g) of active dry yeast
- 5 drops of vanilla essence
Ingredients to make the poppy seed filling:
- 3 drops of almond extract
- 4 tablespoons of honey
- 1 cup of hot milk
- 1 tablespoon of lemon zest
- 25oz (710g) of poppy seed filling or 1lb (450g) of black or blue poppy seeds for grinding
- 1 cup of sugar
- 6oz (170g) of softened unsalted butter
Ingredients for a snowy Christmas dusting:
- ⅓ cup of icing sugar ❅
Instructions to make the poppy seed filling:
- You can buy ready-made poppy seed filling online or at a local international food shop. If you want to grind them yourself in a food processor, first bring some water to the boil and let the poppyseeds soak for about 10 minutes, then boil them for 20 minutes more, topping up the water if necessary.
- Drain the water and allow the seeds to cool a bit.
- Once they have cooled down it’s time to grind them. In a food processor, it’s best to grind them in batches of about 3.5oz (100g) at a time until they reach a paste-like consistency.
- In a bowl, add the almond extract, softened butter, honey, lemon zest, hot milk, ground poppy seed paste and sugar and mix well.
Instructions to prepare the dough
- Add the yeast to ½ a cup of warmed up milk.
- In another bowl, add ½ a cup of melted butter, eggs, flour, salt, sugar, 1 ½ cups of warm milk and the yeast milk mixture and mix them well until you get a smooth, sticky dough. Leave a few teaspoon-fulls of melted butter for a later step.
- Next, grease a large bowl or cake tin and spoon the dough into it.
- Dust the top with some flour, cover it with a clean, slightly damp tea towel or sheet of kitchen roll and leave it to stand in a warm spot for an hour or until it has risen to twice the original size.
- In the meantime sprinkle some flour on a chopping board and place some baking paper into two baking trays to prepare for the next step.
- Once the dough is ready press it down and empty it out onto the floured chopping board.
- Separate the dough into two evenly sized rectangles and spread the poppy seed filling on each.
- Now roll each dough rectangle up into a log shape just like a Swiss roll.
- Put the rolls in the baking trays, cover them with a clean, slightly damp tea towel or kitchen roll and leave them to rise until they've grown twice as big again.
- When the rolls are nearly ready, preheat the oven to 350℉ (176℃).
- Lightly coat the top surfaces of each roll with some of the melted butter and place them in the oven for between 50 and 60 minutes.
- When they have changed to a golden brown colour you’ll know they’re ready. At this point take them out of the oven and let them cool.
- Finally, sprinkle the two rolls with the icing sugar for a lovely snow-like dusting. Now cut slices at an angle for maximum artistic appeal, serve and enjoy!
Turrón de Jijona Christmas recipe from Spain 👑
While kids in the UK anxiously await an avalanche of selection boxes for Christmas, in Spain turron is the main sweet treat children look forward to enjoying. Turrón is a kind of Spanish almond nougat that comes in tooth-breakingly hard or soft and chewy variations. For the health of your kid’s teeth, we’ll look at the Christmas recipe for the soft version! Turrón is also eaten in Portugal, Italy and Latin America.
Ingredients for Turrón de Jijona:
- 3 cups of ground roasted almonds for the best flavour or 10.5oz (300g) of almond flour
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1 egg white
- ½ a cup of honey
- The zest of half a lemon
- 8 tablespoons of icing sugar
- ½ a cup of powdered sugar
- Heat the honey over on low heat in a small pan.
- Once the honey is runny, slowly add the powdered sugar and stir it in until it has mixed completely.
- Now add the lemon zest and ground cinnamon and mix well.
- Take the pan off the heat and whisk in the egg white to blend it thoroughly.
- Pop the pan back on the hob and let it heat for a minute or two before adding the almonds and mixing well until you get a thick gooey liquid.
- Place cling film at the bottom of two lasagne-sized dishes.
- Now pour the mixture into the dishes. Make sure the mixture is spread all over the base of both dishes and smooth down the top so it is nice and flat.
- Place cling film over the tops of the turron slabs and put something heavy like a bag of sugar on top to compress the mix.
- Put the dishes in the fridge to set for five to six hours. Cut into small slices as a little goes a long way with these delicious treats!
Kourabiethes Christmas recipe from Greece🎅
Kids will be delighted to learn that biscuits are a big part of Christmas in Greece. Kourabiethes are rich, buttery, melt-in-the-mouth shortbread biscuits that will go great with a steaming mug of hot chocolate on Christmas morning!
Ingredients for Kourabiethes:
- ½ a cup of finely chopped toasted almonds
- ½ a teaspoon of baking powder
- ½ a teaspoon of baking soda
- 1 pound (454g) of softened unsalted butter
- 3 chopped cherries
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 pound (454g) of flour
- ½ a cup of powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
Ingredients for a snowy Christmas dusting:
- 2 cups of icing sugar ❅
- Mix the butter for about five minutes until it is soft and creamy, you might want to use a hand mixer on a low setting for this.
- Add ½ a cup of powdered sugar and the egg yolks and mix thoroughly. Next stir in the almonds and vanilla essence.
- In another bowl, combine the baking soda, baking powder and flour together by sifting thoroughly.
- Next, stir the flour into the first bowl and mix until you get a smooth dough. Pop the dough into the fridge to chill it for about 30 minutes.
- Turn the oven on to preheat at about 350℉ (176℃) then take the dough out of the fridge.
- Scoop out chestnut-sized lumps of dough and roll them into balls. Put them on a sheet of baking paper with a space of about 2in (5cm) between each ball. Flatten the balls into biscuit shapes using the bottom of a glass or jam jar.
- When the oven is ready put biscuits in and let them bake until they start turning brown which should take about 20 minutes.
- Take them out and sprinkle a good drift of icing sugar over them. The sugar should melt a bit into the top of the biscuits. You can add more icing sugar after they’ve cooled a bit more.
- Chop up the cherries and pop them on top for a splash of Christmasy colour.
- Serve and enjoy with a hot Christmas drink.
From all of us here at GoStudent, we would like to wish all of you and yours a Wesołych Świąt, Feliz Navidad, and a Kala Hristouyienna !🎄!
*English translation: Bon appétit! 😉