Tasty Tangents

Food, life and other morsels

Post-Holiday Cheer

Cicitielli

Cicitielli

As always a few weeks after the Christmas season, things tend to get a little dreary as all the sparkle and joy begins to fade away.

So it seemed like and ideal time for my first guest post. My mom is always working to perfect family recipes. Ones that have been handed down on scraps of paper with little more than the names of a few main ingredients. (And that’s at the best of times.)

So without further ado…here’s a word from my mom.

ALL IN THE FAMILY

I have been wanting to write about my special Christmas sweets for quite some time. I remember the sights, smells and tastes that come with them, but most of all they represent my family’s traditions of preparing so many different sweets for the season that were made from recipes passed on from one generation to the next by word of mouth. The ingredients have always remained the same, but the quantities come from individual experience.

I made one particular sweet three times this season starting in late November when our family Christmas party was being organized by my sister, Lucy.  I was excited to have a big family gathering and wanted to bring tradition to the party with my sweets.

I took pictures of the process and felt very close to the people who made them before me.  I could hear my grandmother whispering “piano, piano,” (slowly, slowly) and knew she was watching over me while I deep fried them. I made them again within days because I thought they were too small and there weren’t enough.

The care and attention I gave them paid off.  They were magnificent.  After the frying and cooling, I made the icing and remembered how often I had watched my mom make them with the same care and the resulting cicitielli were always beautiful little balls of snow white icing adorning the fluffy cake inside.  Mom’s were the best.

I had come close to the way they were supposed to be and appreciated the hard work of those who made them before me.  I could feel their strength go through me and settle in my heart as I felt pride in having completed the job.

I made them again just before New Year’s Eve to bring them to my daughter’s house. They smelled, tasted and looked just like they were supposed to and I iced them at her house just before guests were supposed to arrive.

The work paid off because everyone who tasted them said they were surprised by the flavour and texture that they had.  They were not what they had expected and then they had another. I think that my son-in-law, Dan liked them a lot when he dipped one in the chocolate fondue.  He said that they were delicious.  My husband kept telling me that they were the best sweets of the season whenever he ate one.

I will probably not make them again until next Christmas and look forward to the event as part of the joys of the season, but I suppose I could make them some time before if I really wanted to.

7 Comments

  1. I just had to go for it with the fondue. They were so good without the fondue, but dipping them in chocolate took them way over the top!!

  2. Thanks Dan,
    We had so much fun on New Year’s Eve at your place and enjoyed sharing the food, drinks and conversations. Thanks for the vote on the cicitielli. They are a delicious treat.
    Claire

  3. Ciccitilli are also my favourite! Although, Mastatsuli and Turdilli do place a close second.
    I love the way you told the story of how you made them. You brought me very fond memories of Nonna I and Nonna C:) Ciccitilli always make me think of the dining room at 211 Rumble on Christmas Day. Sitting around the table after an amazing Christmas dinner, sipping tea with milk and devouring many, many Ciccitilli with my family…

  4. I agree with Julia that your story reminds me of many times baking these and many other holiday sweets. The pictures are fantastic and so is your story mom. But I wonder, is this recipe a secret? One thing I found missing in this post was the recipe for the wonderful cicitelli that are so close to impossible to make. Maybe you can add it?
    Love,
    J

  5. Great post and they were delicious. Next time I hope to be able to help you so we can ensure this tradition is passed on to future generations.

    p.s. was I the only one who thought it was ciccitiRlli?? lol I guess so…

  6. It has been wonderful reading the comments and hearing that we are all reminded of the women who were such strong, dedicated and devoted promoters of tradition. Let’s join them in passing on knowledge and values that are represented in everything that we do.

  7. Great post! We are linking to this great article on our website.
    Keep up the good writing.