I’m still on holiday break, but here’s a tidbit I wanted to share.
In the coming week, various Wenches will be posting about holiday traditions.
Here’s mine, short and sweet, literally.
It’s the Good Fortune Baklava.
Actually, it can be the Good Fortune kadaif or Good Fortune spinach pie (or leek pie or squash or whatever). But in my Albanian family, here’s how it goes.
On New Year’s Eve, my mother bakes baklava. There are more ways of making baklava than there are of making pizza. Not only every Balkan/Middle Eastern ethnic group has its own variety but families have their own recipes. My mother makes hers with the special flaky filo dough and a syrup of sugar and water with layers of walnuts combined with her secret ingredients. All held together with vast quantities of clarified butter.
In the old days, the ladies used to make their own filo dough. I remember seeing sheets of the thin, thin stuff laid out on all the beds and every other flat surface, on pristine white sheets, to dry. These days, though, we buy the dough at the shop that sells ethnic groceries.
In the course of the preparation, Mum hides a quarter among the flaky layers. After baking, the dessert is cut–she makes diamond-shaped pieces–and the pieces are handed round to family members by a complicated process involving numbers drawn out of a hat (to insure fairness).
But we are all guaranteed at least 10,000 calories apiece.
Do you have a New Year’s tradition?
Whether you do or not, I hope yours is filled with good fortune.