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.
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.
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.