Given that the days are counting down until Christmas, and I’ll be spending a part of today carrying out a family tradition, I thought I’d share with you a long standing “must” for our holiday. Horns. They are a type of pastry we have Christmas morning. Truthfully, I’m not sure where they originated or even how they became a tradition when I was growing up, but they were critical. I did a Google search for “horns pastry” and found recipes for Hungarian horns served at Christmas. My father is of Romanian heritage, so maybe that’s where it started. I can’t believe I’ve never asked. As soon as it light outside and people are up, I’m making a phone call. Now I need to know.
I remember years when my dear mother would be making them in the middle of the night because somehow the time slipped away. And, gracious, it wouldn’t be Christmas morning without them. Here is the recipe that I’ve grown up with and still make each year. It looks long and slightly complicated, but trust me, it’s not. May your holidays be full of the traditions that make it special for you.
1 package of yeast
¼ cup lukewarm water
5 cups sifted flour
1 cup butter
1 blob of oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 egg yolks
1 large can of evaporated milk
1 cup pecans or walnuts, ground or chopped finely
1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
Or- anything you want!
1) Sprinkle the yeast in the warm water, stir, and wait for it to proof.
2) Mix together the butter and blog of oil. Add the sugar, salt, egg yolks and a little of the milk.
3) Beat well.
4) Add the yeast.
5) Add the remaining milk alternating with the flour until all is well mixed.
6) Chill dough for 2-3 hours until firm.
7) Divide the dough into 4 equal parts.
8) Mix 2 teaspoons of cinnamon with ½ cup of sugar. Use this in place of flour for rolling out the dough. Sprinkle a generous amount on your counter top (this can be a tad messy). Roll each portion of the dough into a round of about 15 inches in diameter. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into pie-shaped pieces (like a pizza). You should have about 16 pieces. Sprinkle the filling over all the dough.
9) Roll each piece starting with the thick end and ending with the point. It will look similar to a croissant.
10) Repeat with the remaining dough. You’ll probably need to mix more cinnamon and sugar. I always seem to run out.
11) Let the horns rise for about 30 minutes until beginning to be puffy.
12) Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
13) I often pre-bake them for about 10- 15 minutes the night before and then finish them off as the kids are reaching for their stockings.
I wish for you that your holidays be full of joy and the New Year be healthy and happy for you and your family.