When all the bright autumnal leaves have dropped off the trees, when the snow makes its way, flake for flake, from the mountain peaks down to the valleys and the waft of cinnamon, citrus fruit and gingerbread spice greets you when you get through the door, then it's that time again! Christmas biscuits, affectionately known in South Tyrol as 'Keksln', are taking over the land! And, in no time at all, they find their way into our bellies and hearts.
Such classics as 'Spitzbuben' jam biscuits, 'Vanillegipfeln' vanilla crescents, 'Lebkuchen' gingerbread biscuits and 'Kokosbusseln' coconut macaroons will get your mouth watering just at the thought of them. Add to these some naughty but nice chocolate biscuits, such as nougat squares or fruity orange half-moons, and our enthusiasm knows no bounds! And when the biscuits are home-made, the dough has had love and effort put into it, too. Kneading biscuit dough with Christmas music quietly playing in the background has a calming effect on the spirit.
Tasty bread made with love
A foray into South Tyrol's biscuit workshops will reveal bite-sized high-calorie treats as well as traditional fruity Christmas bread. Apples, figs, raisins and nuts are lovingly kneaded into a dough and seasoned with bakers' favourite spices. What exactly goes into the baking is, as is so often the case, a closely guarded family secret that has been passed down through generations until it is honed to perfection! Hans Maschler, owner of Auhaus holiday flats in Martell, made an exception for us and let us in on his famous recipe for this delicious bread. He gets a little nostalgic as he does this, his mind going back to his childhood, to torchlight walks through the snow to Midnight Mass and the delicious anticipation of being back in the warm 'Stube' again afterwards. Family get-togethers where everyone celebrated together, the bread, the 'Zelten' cake and of course the 'Keksln' – these are the images he has of his childhood.
Christmas fruit bread
Mix 750 gr grated apple with
250 gr sugar and leave over night
add 1 dessertspoon cocoa (not hot chocolate powder)
1 dessertspoon rum
cinnamon + ground clove + 'Lebkuchen' spice to taste
150 gr nuts (not ground too finely)
125 gr figs
125 gr raisins
then add 500 gr flour
1 ½ packet of baking powder finally fill a loaf tin lined with greaseproof paper and bake at 160 - 140 degrees for 1 ½ hours.
Hans wishes us a contemplative and peaceful time spent with our families. And lots of fun during your home baking sessions.