13 December 2014

A Christmas Tradition: Sour Cream Twists - Chris Nielsen, Head of St, Margaret's Bay, Nova Scotia

When my brother and I were very little my mother established a tradition that we would have Sour Cream Twists for breakfast on Christmas morning. I think she got the recipe from the newspaper. It certainly didn't come from her family. To this day, that is the only time I make these.

I have copied verbatim from the stained and worn typed letter that she sent me for my first Christmas away from home. I have added my own notes at the end.

Sour Cream Twists

Sift 4 cups of flour and 1 tsp salt into a bowl. Cut in 1 cup shortening with a pastry blender.

Soften 1 package (1 tbsp) of dry yeast in 1/4 cup warm water. Beat 1 egg and 2 egg yolks together until light. Combine eggs, yeast, 1 cup sour cream, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 cup seedless raisins. Stir into flour mixture and mix thoroughly. Let rise covered in refrigerator for at least two hours.

Measure 3/4 cup sugar. Sprinkle board and rolling pin with this sugar and roll out to a 12 inch square. Sprinkle dough with sugar and fold in thirds. Roll out again to square, sprinkle with sugar and fold again. Roll out to square (I guess mine is more of a rectangle) and cut into strips about 1" x 4". Twist strips and place on ungreased baking sheet. Add cinnamon to remaining sugar and sprinkle twists with the mixture.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 18 minutes. (If they are crowded on the baking sheet they will need a little longer, maybe at a lower temp.)

My notes: 

1. This is about the only time all year when I use Crisco. I don't know anything about the results if you choose to use lard. I don't think butter would work well.

2. The point of the rolling is to create multiple layers which are separated by sugar. Don't get hung up on the details of turning and rolling. Just do what you can to create those layers.

3. I roll these out on a Silpat. If you do the same don't use a knife to cut the twists.

4. We have found that a double twist in the middle of each piece of pastry keeps it from untwisting as it bakes.

5. I cook for a short time because I bake on Christmas Eve and reheat the next morning. They will get too dry unless they are slightly under-baked originally.


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