Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Kaleidoscope Year

How do you measure a year? In heartbeats? Adventures?

On Christmas Eve, 41 gathered under my roof. Four generations. Lexi shaking her jingle bells in her hair, Audrey twirling her dress, and Peter and Adam advising Audrey to sit on Santa's lap - because if she did, she got a gift. (She didn't. She got a gift anyway. Santa is not a Scrooge.)

With my sister and I facing our first Christmas as orphans - decidedly middle-aged orphans but orphans none-the-less, we looked to the Haas's to supply the hustle and bustle and heart of our early Italian Christmas celebrations. They did not disappoint. Christmas Day was traditional Italian but for the Eve it was mainly Midwest with a touch of the old country.And there is no sense in recreating an experience you had. You must mix it up! You cannot recreate it.  Hence, the bonet - the chocolate molded cream from Piedmont which is traditionally served during the holidays from that region.

It feels rich but is made with milk and not cream. I admit to a simplified version of the recipe - when one is serving Christmas Eve dinner (and Grandpa's 94th birthday dinner!) to 41, simple is a way to stay sane and enjoy the ride. For those interested, a more authentic and intense recipe can be found here: Piemontese Bonet.

Yes, I took the photo after I served it - without amaretti cream (which would be perfect) and without powdered sugar (which I ladled on as the cats were going for it - so a wee bit heavy-handed). But you might like the ease and since the 2012 holiday season is coming to a fast close (fast away the old year passes...)... think of it for Valentine's Day. You mold it - the possibilities are glorious.

Piemontese Bonet: Molded Chocolate Cream from Piedmont
3 cups milk
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (I used small morsels - no chopping - bittersweet would be heaven)
1 cup sugar
4 eggs, beaten
16 amaretti cookies, crushed
Optional: powdered sugar, whipped cream, Christmas hard candies, chocolate curls for decoration

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot combine milk and chocolate and cook on low heat until chocolate melts. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl mix the sugar and the eggs. Stir in the chocolate milk and cookies.

Pour the chocolate mixture into a mold (I used a bundt pan). Fill a large pan ( a roasting pan) with boiling water. Place the mold in the roasting pan and fill with boiling water until it comes halfway up the mold. Place in oven and bake for 60 minutes. Remove and let sit for 30 minutes and then invert it onto a plate.

Decorate with powdered sugar (which I forgot) or some cream mixed with amaretto (which I forgot) and/or chocolate curls and hard Christmas candies (which I forgot).

Slice and serve warm or refrigerate for an hour and slice and serve.

8 servings.

The gathering was what the doctor ordered. I did little writing the last six months thinking I had writer's block. But what I had was a kaleidoscope of patterns I had used and knew. I look forward to turning the kaleidoscope and inviting new patterns to inspire. I am learning more and more about taking things you know and transforming them into things that are new. Scientists do it. And artists. And writers. It's time for me to re-evaluate. The possibilities are endless.

Wishing you a year of possibilities and all the goodness that comes with it. Happy 2013! Thank you for visiting and being a community of sharing.


Mary Bergfeld said...

What a fine looking group you had assembled for the holiday. I'm glad this first Christmas as an orphan lifted your spirits and gladdened your heart.I have the feeling you have a wonderful year ahead of you. Happy New Year, Claudia. Hugs and blessings...Mary.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Sounds like a perfect gathering with a delicious dessert. Bonet is not something you see here very often, but on my recent trip to Piedmont, I saw it there on menus often and indulged too. Happy New Year and may it be filled with wonderful writing experiences for you.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Claudia, Here's to a fabulous 2013 and may your creative juices overflow! You're the best!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Never has a truer word been said Claudia. I hope that 2013 finds you rich with experiences.

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Claudia, I with much happiness and good health in the new year for you and your family. And what a lovely family you have. Great group shot. I know this season is bittersweet for you and your sister. I would have definitely kept it simple for forty-one people. Happy 94th birthday to your Grandpa.

Mister Meatball said...

Bella famiglia!

Happy New Year.

QembarDelites said...

What a lovely family you's a feat to gather the whole family together under one roof! Happy New Year to you and your family Claudia:D

chow and chatter said...

oh this sounds tasty what a lovely family picture miss my family wish I could have huge gathering
hugs and all the best for 2013

Kathy said...

Such a lovely family photo! Looks like you had a wonderful Christmas Eve. Love your Piemontese Bonet…so gorgeous and creamy looking!! I am so intrigued…I have to give this a try!!
Wishing you and yours a very Happy, Healthy New Year, Claudia!!

Gloria Baker said...

haopy new year Claudia;)

Barbara F. said...

Happy New Year, Claudia to you and yours. Wishing you all the best for a great 2013. xo

Reeni said...

What a full house you had Claudia! This molded chocolate looks absolutely divine! I don't think I ever had anything like it. Happy New Year! xo

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

I'm delighted to see you were surrounded by loved ones (and LOTS of them) for the holidays! Your dessert sounds amazing...the crowning touch for your Christmas Eve meal. Wishing you much happiness, health and creativity in 2013. xoxo

Joanne said...

It sounds like you had such a lovely Christmas! I love that so many of you got together to make it a memorable holiday.

OysterCulture said...

Sounds like an incredible bitter sweet time, and that dessert looks amazing. thanks for sharing.

Gina said...

Happy New Years!!! I'm so glad you took the old and wove it into something new. You have a beautiful family and I'm wishing you and them all the best in the upcoming year. I love the dessert you choose, something for me to add to the must try list.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Great looking recipe! And it sounds like you had a wonderful time. Love the picture of the multitudes! Thanks for this, and I hope you have a great New Year.

Angie's Recipes said...

41!!wow...that must have been a real PARTY!
The chocolate cream looks mouthwatering.

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

What a wonderful gathering...yes, you definitely need t simplify for a group meal. All the best to you in the new year.

FOODESSA said...

Mixing it and re-creating...sounds like a recipe for success!
Claudia, I have no doubt that everything will eventually fall into place and all will make sense once more.

BTW...your wonderful dessert brings back memories of when I was hosted by Nuns in Italy...a real delight.

Have a wonderful week and Happy New Year.

Ciao for now,

Balvinder said...

Nice family get together and great looking recipe which I can try.
Happy New Year!!!

Chiara said...

Such a lovely family Claudia, bonet is delicious ! Happy new year !

Roz | La Bella Vita Cucina said...

What a beautiful family! Wow 41 people! I love your description of your Christmas traditions. Piemontese Bonet is new to me; I sure have been missing out. I think I would have eaten the whole thing, but then again, since it was Christmas, I would most likely have shared!

Monet said...

Beautifully written...and such a lovely gathering. Full of love and promise. And this looks so delicious. Thank you for sharing. 2013 is off to a good start. I hope you have a relaxing and joyful weekend, my friend!

Fresh Local and Best said...

Happy new year Claudia! This looks like an amazing cake! I adore amaretti cookies!

Frank said...

They say that losing a parent is devastating at any age. I can certainly believe it. I hope that day is far off still, although both my parent are well into their 70s.

All the best for the coming year.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

What a beautiful dessert! Really tempting.

Best wishes for 2013!



Beth said...

Happy 2013 to you, too. It sounds like you had a wonderful holiday, and how lovely to get that big family of yours together. Yes, here's to more writing in 2013

Anonymous said...

What a lovely group of people to be surrounded with!

What a fabulously rich & alternative festive dessert too! :) MMMMMMM!

I wish you a very happy 2013 filled with tons of laughter, joy, fun adventures, a lot of inspiration to come up with new plays, etc! :) xxx