by Julia Powers.
Making Memories: Meet Laura Raposa
For many, food is inextricably linked to holiday memories. For eSS&SC reader Laura Raposa’s family, these memories include a fruit-studded cake Laura has dubbed, “My Portuguese Grandmother’s Italian Fruit Roll.” Given the hectic pace of the holidays, carving out time to make these delicacies is an act of love, especially since Laura’s holiday season is busier than most; Laura is the proprietress of Foodsmith, a Duxbury bakery and eatery.
Laura named this must-have confection after her grandmother Lena. This rolled cake, brimming with dried fruit and nuts, is so beloved that Laura bakes several of them. One is eaten by the entire family on Christmas Day; her parents and brother each get a roll to take home; and, when the holiday hubbub has settled down, Laura and her husband Steve share the final one on New Year’s Eve.
No matter how busy or how tired they are, home cooks know that the food they so lovingly prepare is integral to building family memories. Laura observes, “It’s what you do to please your loved ones. Disappointing anyone—especially the kids—isn’t an option. These little pleasures make us happy, and we like to make memories for the children.”
Food and the love, memories, and fellowship it conveys, is central to many families’ holiday celebrations. Whether your holiday is enriched with long-standing food traditions or you want to start some new holiday food traditions of your own, hit the kitchen and celebrate the season with gusto!
Laura Raposa’s Portuguese Grandmother’s Italian Fruit Roll
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- ½ cup milk
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of electric mixer. Add vanilla and eggs.
Sift the dry ingredients together. Add to the wet ingredients in three parts, alternating with milk.
When the mixture has come together, gather it up and knead lightly and briefly on a floured surface. Compress the dough into a disc, wrap airtight and chill.
- 30 ounces dried fruit (pitted prunes, raisins, apricots, figs, currants), chopped
- ½ cup granulated sugar, or to taste
- 1 cup dried cherries or cranberries, chopped
- ½ cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)
- Juice of one lemon
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
Place the chopped mixed fruit in a large bowl and just cover with boiling water. Cover with a lid and let sit for an hour or until soft. Drain thoroughly. Stir in sugar to taste, followed by the cherries, nuts, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
Assembly and Baking
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Divide dough into four equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll one piece out into a 5”x12” rectangle about ¼ inch in thickness.
Spread a portion of the filling down the lengthwise middle third of the dough. Turn up the short edges just to cover the filling, and then flap over the longer edges to make a flat log. (Leave the envelope a bit roomy so that the filling may swell in the oven without bursting the log.) Transfer log to a greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet. Repeat with the other pieces of dough. (You may have filling left over.)
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons milk
Stir together, and brush on fruit rolls.
Bake rolls for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool completely on the pans, and then carefully transfer to racks for glazing.
- ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or lemon juice
In a small bowl, mix ingredients, adding water by drops until glaze consistency. Drizzle or brush fruit rolls with glaze. Decorate with holiday sprinkles, if desired.
When the glaze is completely dry, wrap rolls in plastic wrap or transfer to holiday-decorated bakery bags. Fruit rolls freeze well, tightly wrapped, but save the glazing step for after thawing.
Makes 4 fruit rolls, yielding 50-60 fat slices.
Julia Powers bakes a few holiday treats from her childhood, with her mom’s holly cookies being the hands-down family favorite. These cookies, a throwback to the 1970s, combine butter, green-tinted melted marshmallows, cornflakes, and red-hot candies—nothing fancy, but oh so good!
Article condensed and reprinted from the 2018 holiday edition of edible South Shore & South Shore. Read the full article here.