Legends on the traditional Christmas cake from SouthTyrol

Let us see the legends on the traditional Christmas cake from Trentino SouthTyrol
The tradition of Zelten has been born in Central European in the 8th century.
A legend says that Zelten was prepared on December 13 and offered to the end of the holidays.

There is a manuscript of the 8th century that explained the recipe for Zelten “Take Candia grapes, raisins, pine nuts, almonds peeled cut for long, minutely chopped lemon peel, anise seeds, candied citrus peel, cinnamon, a little ‘sugar and a bit’ of flour and stir everything together. Take a piece of yeast, the size of a walnut. ”

Another legend claims that Zelten was prepared on December 21 on the eve of St. Thomas. The whole family took part in the preparation of thid cake especially young women, who worked with dedication, because the cake was then donated to their boyfriend and future husband. They prepared a great dessert to be shared by the entire family and several smaller ones to give as gift to friends. Once prepared, the mother marked the center of the sweet with a cross and blessed it before baking.  They dedicated this cake to St. Thomas because he  will guide the love of young women. During preparation, the women invoke the saint to bring love into their lives.

In addition to the preparation of the cake there are other rituals connected to the saint, for example, the girls writed letters of the alphabet on small slips of paper that will be folded and placed under the pillow. Before going to sleep they pray and invoke the saint. In the morning, when the alarm clocks, they just take one of the cards at random and the letter of the card will be the initial of the name of the future boyfriend. The rites were many and varied from valley to valley, what they had in common was the search for love.
Once ready Zelten was blessed last time and put in the cupboard waiting for the Epiphany, the day when it was divided among all family members.

RECIPE OF ZELTEN (IN TRENTINO)
Here’s how to prepare the Christmas cake typical of Trentino:

Ingredients:
• Flour, 400 g
• Sugar, 250 g
• 3 eggs
• Butter, 150 g
• nuts, 100 g
• Figs, 100 g
• Pine nuts, 100 g
• Almonds, 100g
• Cedar, 100 g
• Raisins, 100 g
• 2 bags of yeast
• Rum

 

Beat the yolks with sugar helping with melted butter and diluted with half a glass of warm water. Let the mixture stand for about half an hour, add the flour and beating all the other ingredients, chopped and mixed together, and rested from the night before in four or five tablespoons of rum. Finally add the egg whites until stiff. Divide the dough into two parts and each part, add the yeast. Roll out the dough into two greased and floured cake tins, and bake for 30 minutes at 220 degrees

Zelten, Christmas cake and the recipe to prepare it according to the tradition of Bolzano

Ingredients
• Dried figs, 500 g
• Raisins, 1kg
• Dates, 250 g
• unpeeled almonds, 500 g
• Sultana, 1kg
• Candied Citron, 125 g
• Candied orange, 125 g
• Rum, 1/4 liter
• nuts, 125 g
• Pine nuts, 125 g
• sauce and grated zest of 2 oranges
• Pasta Bread, 600 g
• Cloves
• Cinnamon
• Pimento
• Star anise
• A bit ‘of brandy.

 

Thoroughly rinse all fruits and cut them into small pieces; put them in a bowl, combine the orange zest and pour the sauce of oranges and brandy. Sprinkle with sugar and let stand overnight; the morning pour the rum and add spices, finally working the mass together with leavened bread dough, mixing well. Form with this mixture some Zelten thickness of 3.4 cm, oval or round or heart-shaped, decorated with walnuts and almonds and brush with honey and sugar syrup. Bake on greased plate with oil, for an hour around 220 degrees and allow to cool; if necessary during cooking brush sometimes in order to obtain a nice brown surface. Still decorate with candied fruits and packaged in transparent paper or aluminum foil.

The recipe and the secrets to making a good and tasty Christmas cake according to the recipe Tyrolean.

Ingredients:
• Dried figs, 500 g
• Raisins, 500 g
• Candied fruit, 500 g
• nuts, 100 g
• Almond peeled, 100 g
• Almonds for garnish
• Pine nuts, 50 g
• Grappa or Rum, 1/2 l
• Honey, 150 g
• 1 lemon
• Cinnamon powder
• Clove powder
• Rye flour
• Butter

Started working two days before. Cut the figs into small pieces, the diced candied fruit and coarsely chopped walnuts and 100 g of almonds. Put everything in a clay dish, add the raisins and pine nuts, pour the brandy or rum and let ferment for 18 hours indoors. Eventually mix well and add the cinnamon, cloves and grated rind of half a lemon. Knead and related ingredients with 100 g of honey and with a quantity of flour of rye corresponding to 5% of the weight of compound. Add some ‘of water to soften the dough, then give it the shape of an oval bread and garnish with a few almonds. Grease and flour a baking dish and arrange the cake. To cook for an hour in the oven, and then let it cool.

Source: www.zelten.it

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