I wait for Christmas Eve Day all year. I love Christmas, but there is so much tradition in my family for Christmas Eve that there is nothing like it. When I used to live in Croatia we would go and buy our tree on Christmas Eve morning (I know, it sounds crazy since many people in US decorate the trees day after Thanksgiving...), we would decorate it in the early afternoon and then we would wrap up our gifts. As I was older I started helping my mom with the Christmas Eve dinner, and that is the mos delicious meal in the world. At least to me it is. I guess I could make it whenever, but no way, it is not even an option, it would ruin the anticipation and joy of having it only then, on Christmas Eve. As I was a monster growing up, little by little my parents switched the Christmas morning gift opening to after the dinner on Christmas Eve, which made us love that day even more as kids. Now when I have my own family, we open one gift each on Christmas Eve and the rest on Christmas morning. I wonder how long we will last with that tradition, if my kiddos are anything like me (they are) they will get that silly idea right out of our heads. Waiting? Pft.
One thing that didn't change yet (and it hopefully never will) is that I still make the exact same meal as my mom and grandma before her did. I even make the light lunch the same as we used to have it as kids. No meat day - so it is fried eggs on top of creamy pureed spinach. Simple but yummy.
Dinner consist of Baccala Brudetto which I wrote about a few days ago(Bacalao or Bakalar) and Fritule, which you can think of as little drunk doughnut holes. I am already so excited for tonight. I hope you spend it with your loved ones, enjoying your favorite foods and traditions.
1 lbs of potatoes
about 3/4 lbs of all purpose flour
2 heaping Tbsp of sugar
pinch of salt
2 Tbsp of Maraschino or Cherry
2 Tbsp of dark Rum
2 Tbsp of Gin
1/4 tsp of anise extract
1 Tbsp of Rose water
pinch of grated nutmeg
peel from one orange
1/4 to 1/2 cup of raisins
1 bag of active dry yeast
about 1 1/2 cups water (boiling hot)
2 cups of confectioners sugar
4 Tbsp of cinnamon
In a small bowl combine all of the alcohol and soak the raisins in them. Cook the whole unpeeled potatoes and peel them while still hot, then rice them on a clean floured surface. Immediately mix with flour and alcohol (remove the raisins first) and add water to make a perfect soft sticky dough. You will probably not use all of the water and you just kind of play it as you go to get a nice dough. It does not need to form a ball and I actually prefer to do all this in a big bowl. If you do add all the water and it still looks too dry, add some more gin or rum. Add the yeast and mix it vigorously to add air to it until you get something like bubbles popping and then add the nutmeg, salt, sugar, orange peel and raisins. Mix and let it sit covered in a warm place for minimum of 30 minutes, best for about an hour.
Heat up a pot with oil for frying and fry fritule until golden brown. It is easiest to shape them into balls using two small spoons. When they are done put them on a plate with paper towel to drain the extra oil and then roll them in mixture of confectioners sugar and cinnamon. Serve warm.