Tag Archives: dessert

BUCHE DE NOEL

MAIN PIECE:

Informant: Well at Christmas we’ll always have Buche de Noel… Which is a French dessert. It’s like, “Christmas log…” And it’s like a cake, and it’s like a roll, you know? Where you roll it up? And you decorate it to like resemble a log, and a lot of times it’ll have like marzipan… Like little marzipan mushrooooms, or little like eeeeelves, or something, and there’ll be like powdered sugar to be like snoooooow. And they’re just like super pretty. And we always do that. 

INFORMANTS RELATIONSHIP TO THE PIECE:

Informant: We’re not French, but we always do it. My mom did a year abroad in France, so she’s big on France. We go there a lot. All I know is it’s just like a traditional French dessert to have at Christmas. 

Interviewer: Do you make it or buy it?

Informant: We always buy it. We always do catering for Christmas. Cooking or baking is too much pressure. We wanna be like enjoying ourselves. Like for me, I really love baking, but if there’s a lot of people around, I like hate baking. I’ll be like, “Get out of my space. Like stop it. Like leave.”

REFLECTION:

Buche de Noel began as a tradition because it represented the burning of the Yule log, which is rooted in Pagan rituals. The tradition then evolved from the burning of a log to making and consuming a cake, which has then become cross-culturally adopted, with a German-American family making this French dessert part of their family tradition. This demonstrates how traditions can change over time and become adopted by new people and groups. The informant is attracted to this Christmas cake even without fully understanding its ritual context and history. Instead, she appreciates it for its aesthetic appearance and sweet taste. This is perhaps why, as Elliott Oring writes in Folk Groups and Folklore Genres: an Introduction, “food traditions are likely to be tenacious and survive when other aspects of culture are transformed or disappear” (35). One does not always have to know a food’s ritual context to appreciate its taste or appearance. Thus, food can be adopted by “outsiders.” Buche de Noel is now a part of the informant’s family tradition, and has taken on its own meaning within the Christmas traditions and rituals of her family––a meaning that is separate from the context and meaning it might have to a French family.

ANNOTATION:

Source cited above: Oring, Elliott. Folk Groups and Folklore Genres: an Introduction. Utah State University Press, 1986.

Apple/Pear Cobbler Recipe

Main Piece:

Ingredients:

CobblerToppingWhipped Cream
– Butter or Crisco for Baking Dish
– 2 1/2 cups peeled, and sliced Granny Smith Apples
– 2 1/2 cups peeled, and sliced Bosc/Asian Pears
– 3/4 cup of Brown Sugar
– 2 tablespoons of All-Purpose Flour
– 1 tablespoon of Vanilla Extract
– 1/2 teaspoon of Cinnamon
– 1/2 teaspoon of Allspice
– 1/4 teaspoon of Salt
-4 tablespoons of Unsalted Butter
– 1/2 cup of Self-Rising Flour
– 1/2 cup of Sugar
– 1/4 teaspoon of Salt
– 2 tablespoons of Unsalted Butter (softened)
– 1 cup of Heavy Whipping Cream
– 1/2 cup of Sugar (Powdered Sugar is best)
– 1/2 teaspoon of Cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit). Prepare a 9×9 inch baking dish.
  2. Toss the apples, pears, sugar, flour, vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the butter together in a large bowl. Add to the baking dish and dot with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. 
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the self-rising flour, sugar, salt, and egg. With a spoon, drop the topping onto the apples/pears and top with pats of butter. Bake until the topping is golden and the fruit is tender (about 40 to 45 minutes).
  4. Serve with special whipped cream!

Background: The informant is a 54 woman who loves to cook, as she often serves this apple cobbler at Thanksgiving. She originally came across this recipe from her mother, who used to cook the same dish for the holiday as well. She claims the recipe has been passed down generations, and because of that holds a special place in her heart. She will continue to cook the dish, and plans to pass the recipe down to her daughter when the time comes.  

Context: The informant showed me the recipe in person when I was at her house. 

My Thoughts: Although this recipe is nothing special, the fact that it has been passed along throughout the informant’s family makes it special to them. It is something they, as a family share with one another, and serves as a unique way for her to always remember her mom and grandma. They’ve all experienced cooking the same dish for Thanksgiving and having to deal with the pressure of it meeting their families expectation. In addition, I find it interesting to see if any of them made small changes to the recipe. The informant claims to have not. However, she did share with me that her mom added the whipped cream aspect to the dish. The dish has been served for over 60 years within the informants family, making it quite the staple for their Thanks Giving celebration!

Scalille

Scalille is an Italian dessert that is usually made and served during Christmas time. Scalille in Calabrese dialect means little ladders or little stairs, and it is made of dough that is twisted a few times to create the shape of ladders. The ladder is meant to symbolize the ladder in which one may travel to heaven and be a servant to God. Because it connects heaven and earth, angels are able to travel down the ladders as well to do God’s work on earth.


The interlocutor mentioned this particular dish as a Christmas dessert that he has enjoyed throughout many holidays spent with his family, especially as he played a partially active role in the kitchen making the scalille. Both of his grandmothers have made scalille and have passed down the process to him. His knowledge of the biblical connotations of scalille originates in his Italian Catholic faith, as well as the lore surrounding the making of scalille. He regards this dessert as one of his favorite aspects of the holiday season, especially the process of making it with his family. An interesting aspect of the interlocutor’s relationship to this dessert is his strong identification with its divine implications, as he adopted a sort of reverent tone when relaying the biblical meaning behind scalille. This reverence was carried into his mentioning of making it with family members as well, which illustrates the importance of both religion and family through Italian holiday celebrations.

Italian culture largely involves the influence of religion into its identity, especially during times of religious celebration due to the fact that Christianity remains a particularly dominant religion in Italy. An interpretation of the religious connotation with this dessert can assert Italian desire to connect with heaven during a special time, as well as the desire to associate oneself as a servant of God. Scalille can connect two worlds together, providing consolation and peace during a special time of the year.

DUBROVNIK ROZATA

NK is my grandmother who was born and raised in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Being a local she knows a lot about the city and its folklore. She knows a lot about the local and traditional cuisine. Rozata is a very traditional dessert in Dubrovnik.

 

“Rozata is one of many traditional cuisine in Dubrovnik. This type of desert has been made for special occasions in our family for generations.“

 

What ingredients do you need to make rozata?

 

“well to make it you need:

– eggs 12 pcs.

– sugar 0,22 dkg +0,12 kg (for the caramel)

– milk 1 l

– vanilla bean 1,00 Pc.

– whipping cream 0,35 l

– almonds 0,10 kg

– raisins 0,07 kg

– rum 0,02 l

– candied orange peel .”

 

How do you make it?

 

“You boil the milk and the vanilla bean, mix the eggs and sugar in a separate bowl. Pour the boiled milk through a sieve, cool and carefully add to egg mixture, stirring all the while. After that you want to mix carefully, paying attention that foam does not form at the surface. Then caramelize the remaining sugar and cover the bottom and sides of the forms. Fill the forms with the mixture and place in a medium hot oven in a water bath to fix the cream. When the rozata is half thickened, add a few rum-soaked raisins in the middle of the forms. The finished rozata is removed and cooled. Then you place it in the fridge overnight. Remove from the forms, and pour the melted caramel over the tops. Then you can decorate it and add flavor with whipped cream, thinly cut home-made candied orange strips and toasted almonds.”

 

Rozata has been prepared in my family for as long as I can remember and way longer than that. It has been passed down from generation to generation, but managed to keep your original recipe. I am grateful that I was a part of the generation who had the opportunity to grow up on this exquisite pastry prepared by our grandmothers, and I am even more honored to be able to present and write about it.

Dubrovacka rozata

“Les Pets de Soeurs” : “Nun’s Farts”

Informant: “So, “les pets de sœurs,” it means “Nun Farts” it’s a traditional dessert in Quebec. They are basically a little pastry, kind of like a cinnamon roll, only um, more like a biscuit than a… you don’t use yeast, and its maple rather than cinnamon. To make it, you use pie dough, butter (2 tablespoons), brown sugar, and of course maple syrup. Let’s see, um, that usually makes a lot, like 2 sheets worth. So, first you heat the oven, I think its like 350 degrees (Fahrenheit), then roll out the dough, it should be pretty thin, then spread the butter over the dough and then add a layer of brown sugar. Um, then, over the dough and brown sugar pour maple syrup, just eyeball the amount… some people use both, maple syrup and cinnamon too. Then just roll up the whole thing, and roll it tight so it doesn’t unroll but not too tight cause otherwise the maple syrup and sugar spills out. It should look like a long tube and then kind’ve like a cinnamon roll on the end. Then cut it in slices and put them on a baking sheet, I think like 1 inch or ¾ inch slices. Also, it’s easier when you put parchment paper on the sheet so they don’t stick. You know they’re done when they turn brown, that should be after about, say 20 minutes. Oh, and the maple can get hot so be careful. Also, don’t bake ‘em too close together, cause they don’t separate very well. But yeah, they’re pretty good.”

 

The informant is a middle-aged man, who lived in France for about a year and then in Montreal for about two years. He speaks French fluently and has French Canadian heritage, as his family traveled from French Canada in the 40s and 50s to Maine and Connecticut. He appreciates learning about history, and he especially enjoys experiencing and learning about French Canadian culture because it is his heritage.

The informant learned about this pastry while visiting a friend in Quebec when they had dessert. There, he saw them made, and then repeated the recipe. He likes this foodway because the recipe is “pretty easy and they taste good.”

In Quebec “les pets de soeurs” are popular traditional desserts season round. These pastries are not to be confused with “les pets de nonne” (also called “beignets soufflés”) which also means “nun’s farts” that are more like doughnuts. These versions are more like fried dough with powdered sugar or maple syrup drizzled on top and are popular in France.

Language Notes:

“Les pets de sœurs” translates directly to mean “the farts of a sister,” or “nun farts.” The odd name of this food derives from the tenuous relationship that developed between the Quebec people and the Catholic Church. Today, in French Canada, many curse words are terms that refer to Catholicism and the Catholic Church. According to the informant, this is because in the early 19th century there was a strict social control of the French Canadian people by the Catholic Church, and thus words that referred to God were not supposed to be said because they were sacred. Originally taboo, these words were eventually used to vent frustration and began to transform into profane words. In fact, I have heard the informant use words like baptême (baptism), câlice (chalice), crisse (Christ), tabarnak (tabernacle) when he is annoyed. Thus, calling the food “Les pets de soeur” which pokes fun at the Church would have been amusing. Other theories concerning the name of this food maintain that this dessert received its name because it is “light and dainty.”

 

Pets de Soeurs

Freshly baked Pets de Soeurs

Pets de Nonne - not to be confused with Pets de Soeurs