Zelten is the fruity sweet bread that belongs to the tradition of South Tyrol countries in particular to the Bolzano South Tyrolean territory. THE’zelten the key ingredient is the dried fruit, which is held together with a leavened dough made of wheat flour and rye.
Like all traditional recipes, prepared in every home, zelten has many variations, but generally speaking there are two types of zelten: the Trentino, that looks like a soft cake of dried fruit, and that the South Tyrolean flat shape, similar to a large cookie formed mostly by a large amount of dried fruit.
The two versions of the zelten are therefore very different both in’aspect that for consistency.
The name Zelten, comes from the German “selten” what does it mean “sometimes”Just to indicate that the cake is prepared only for Christmas.
In ancient times the preparation of zelten involved the whole family, especially young women, since it was customary to give zelten to the betrothed; why it was preparing a form rather large, which was then divided into as many parts as gifts. Always according to tradition zelten is prepared in the vicinity of 13 December, or during the days of’Advent, only to be eaten at Christmas, since before being consumed must rest for at least 10 days.
Today there are few families who still prepare zelten at home, but who still is dedicated to patient work also respects’custom to give it, and to make it more beautiful is decorated with dried and candied fruit.
- Ingredients for 8 small zelten
- Dried figs rather soft 500 g
- sultanas 250 g
- Raisins kind Malaga (Large berries, clear and without seeds) 120 g
- pine nuts 120 g
- Blanched almonds 120 g
- Whole peeled hazelnuts 120 g
- Walnuts 120 g
- candied orange 60 g
- Candied citron 60 g
- Orange peel untreated 1
- Lemon peel Untreated 1
- Rum 2 shorts
- wildflower honey 70 g
- White wine 50 ml
- Cinnamon powder satin 1 teaspoon
- ground cloves half teaspoon
- Pimento half teaspoon
- nutmeg powder 1/2 teaspoon
- for the dough
- 00 flour 150 g
- Rye flour 100 g
- Extra virgin olive oil 1 spoon
- water lukewarm 150 ml
- fresh yeast 25 g
- Fine salt 1 pinch
- Aniseed powder satin 1 teaspoon
- Cumin in powder 1 teaspoon
- Honey 1 teaspoon
- to decorate
- Mix dry / dried fruit (Walnuts, almonds, pine nuts) q.s.
- Candied fruit (Oranges, lemons, citrus, cherries) q.s.
- for brushing
- Honey (Or sugar syrup) q.s.
The first thing to do for the realization of the Zelten is the preparation of dried and candied fruit, the main ingredients of this recipe. Take the candied fruit and cut it into cubes (1-2). Then put in small bowls grated rind of lemon and the orange, nutmeg and cinnamon (3).
So take charge of the nuts (4). In a large bowl placed the raisins, the Malaga grapes cut in half and dried figs from the private hard stalk and cut into strips (5). Add the dried fruits two glasses of rum, stir well and let the fully absorb the liquid fruit (5). Meanwhile, allow to cool and dissolve 70 grams of inseme honey wine in a saucepan (6).
When the figs, raisins and grapes have absorbed malaga rum, add the coarsely chopped walnuts, almonds cut into sticks, hazelnuts cut in half (7) candied fruit (8), the grated rind of lemon and of 'orange (9), the powdered cloves and wine with honey. Stir well, making mix all ingredients. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for at least an hour (or even all night, if you prefer to prepare zelten in two days) so as to absorb all the flavors.
Meanwhile in a small bowl crumble the cube of yeast and add in a teaspoon of honey (10), cover with warm water (10), stir and wait for the formation of surface foam. Meanwhile prepare the rye flour and that of wheat (12).
United in a bowl the two types of flour with the cumin and anise (13), then also add the yeast mixture (14) and the tablespoon of oil (15).
At this point knead together until the mixture is compact, mornido but not sticky (17) and let rise in a bowl sprinkled with flour until it has doubled in volume (18).
Take the bowl with nuts and pour the contents of a work surface (19), put on the dough (20) and worked well together until you have a smooth mixture which does not crumble (21).
Divide the dough into eight loaves of the same weight (22) and modellateli according to the form that you prefer, (heart-round, rectangular, oval, square) as long as the zelten have a thickness of about 2 cm. Lightly brush the zelten with a sugar syrup or honey with the rather fluid (melt it on fire) (23). Let them rest and dry for 30 minutes and then decorate them as desired with dried and candied fruit (24). Brush again the zelten with sugar and bake at 150/160 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool your zelten, then wrap them in plastic wrap and let them sit for 10-15 days in a dry place before consuming them.