This dessert brings back so many memories from my childhood. In Hungary the Christmas tree is decorated on the Holy Night (December 24) in immediate families. For us, Christmas is a private, family holiday and we don’t go to parties. Most families decorate the tree together, but some families keep the tradition that the tree should be a surprise for children, who believe it is brought by angels.
When I was a child I entered the room with my brother only when the small tree bells rang. Everything was magical: the smell of the Christmas tree, lit candles and sparklers on the tree. Gifts were laid around the tree with small labels saying who they were for. We usually sang one or two Christmas songs, then opened the gifts and spent the night together.
The menu for the Holy Night in Hungary is very traditional. We usually have fish soup made from carp, followed by fried carp with french fries or potato salad. As a dessert we eat beigli, a special pastry roll filled with poppy seed or walnut.
Also a Christmas classic, mákos guba is a dessert made with poppy seeds and honey. Poppy seed is a popular ingredient all over Central-Eastern Europe and there are many dessert recipes in the Hungarian cuisine that call for it.
Mákos guba is baked in the belief that the poppy seeds bring good luck and lots of money in the new year. A quick way to make it is using a day-old, dry kifli, a crescent-shaped pastry, but you can use any type of roll or bread.
I make it the traditional way from yeasted dough as I learnt from my grandmother years ago. She was the one who was responsible for mákos guba to make it for the whole family. My dear granny passed away only two months ago and we miss her so much. This Christmas my mom and I are responsible for making this sweet, traditional dessert that reminds us how life precious and we have to respect what we have.
To get my recipe visit The Travel Belles’ website here.