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Welcome the World to Holiday Gatherings

Family Features

December 22, 2022

The traditional dishes served year after year at your family's holiday gatherings may bring comfort and a sense of nostalgia, but you can open your loved ones up to a whole new world by incorporating recipes from around the globe.

People of all different cultures across the Earth are often connected by food, whether it's a classic holiday dish or a unique take on a traditional dish, like this raisin-infused Challah. While the dishes themselves may drastically differ, using similar ingredients can be a unifying thread.

For those looking to pull off worldly cuisines this holiday season, consider a familiar and nearly universal ingredient like raisins, an innovative and delicious addition incorporated in culturally diverse dishes. On top of their versatile flavor, Sun-Maid Raisins offer a better-for-you whole fruit option with no added sugar per 1/4-cup serving.

Consider these global recipe ideas enjoyed at holiday gatherings around the world.

• Apple Strudel: Quite possibly one of the most famous German desserts of all, raisins add a delicious chewiness to this traditional strudel.
• Lebkuchen: A traditional German cake similar to gingerbread that's full of sweet spices, walnuts, dates and raisins.

• Cuccidati Siciliani: Typically at their most popular during the holiday season, these Italian fig cookies feature raisins inside the deliciously fruity filling.
• Panettone: Also a holiday favorite, Panettone is a towering round of sweet bread speckled with raisins, citrus and almonds.

• Fruitcake: Traditional fruitcake is chock-full of dried raisins, golden raisins, cherries, dates, pineapple and apricots soaked in dark tea overnight.
• Bread Pudding: This English staple uses stale bread, spices, sweetener and raisins to create a dense and delicious cake.

• Cinnamon-Raisin Rugelach: These flavorful pastries are characterized by a melt-in-your-mouth cheese-based dough with a sweet cinnamon, raisin and walnut filling.

• Christopsomo: Considered sacred in many Greek households and translating to "Christ's Bread," this revered dish is usually prepared the day before Christmas Eve and is served with nothing but bare hands at the table. Raisins, nuts, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg are all found throughout the loaf.

• Ghapama: A baked pumpkin stuffed with partially cooked rice, raisins, nuts, cinnamon and honey.

• Irish Soda Bread: The cakey texture of this Irish favorite is complemented by sweet, chewy raisins throughout the loaf.

Visit: to find more recipes perfect for holiday gatherings.

Crown Raisin Challah
Yield: 3 loaves

• 2 Envelopes (1/4 ounce each) Active Dry Yeast
• 1/2 Cup of Sugar
• 1/4 Cup of Honey
• 3 Cups of Warm Water
• 2 Teaspoons of Cinnamon
• 1/3 Cup of Olive Oil
• 2 Extra-Large Eggs, plus 3 Egg Yolks
• 2 Tablespoons of Kosher Salt
• 1 Cup of Sun-Maid Raisins
• 3 Cups of Bread Flour
• 6 1/2 Cups of All-Purpose Flour

Egg Wash:
• 2 Extra-Large Eggs
• 2 Tablespoons of Sugar

To make dough: In a big bowl, mix Yeast, Sugar, Honey and Warm Water. Let yeast bloom for about 7 minutes.

Add Cinnamon, Oil, Eggs, Egg Yolks and Salt. Mix well. Add the Raisins. Add the Flour and mix it until it is sticky. The Dough should be a creamy yellow.

Turn Dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 12-15 minutes, or until it is smooth. Oil the bowl, place the dough back in the bowl and cover it tight with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled.

Punch the Dough down, cover it and let it rise for another 45 minutes. Punch down again and cut it into three equal pieces. Let rest about 10 minutes then roll each piece into snakes about 30 inches long; taper at one end. Starting with a thick end, roll each snake into a spiral shape like a snail shell. Use a little water and stick a tapered end onto the body of the spiral. Mold into place with hands.

Oil loaves lightly, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until poofy, about 25 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

To make Egg Wash: In a small bowl, whisk the Eggs and the Sugar. Gently brush the loaves with the Egg Wash, taking care not to deflate them.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until the loaves are golden. Let cool completely.

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