Mailänderli are a traditional Christmas biscuit in Switzerland. The story goes that 600 years ago a Swiss delegation travelled to Milano to talk to the Duke. As a gift, they brought him some sweet biscuits. They were such a success that the biscuits have been known as ‘Mailänderli’, little Milans, ever since.
In Switzerland, we start making Christmas biscuits at the beginning of December, to share with family and friends whenever they drop in. Christmas biscuits come in many different varieties, textures, flavours and shapes. The house is full of the baking smells of warm spices, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, the smells of Christmas coming.
Mailänderli are great fun for children or grandchildren to make and decorate. You can also made an edible Advent Calendar by numbering and decorating individual biscuits from 1 to 25 ,before sticking them on balsa wood with icing sugar.
• for about 60 biscuits, depending on size and shape
• preheat oven to 200˚
• 500 gr plain, unbleached flour
• 250 gr butter at room temperature
• 220 gr caster sugar
• 3 organic eggs
• grated zest of organic lemon
• pinch of salt
• in your mixer, beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy
• with the motor running, add one egg at the time
• now the salt, flour and lemon zest
• pour the mixture onto some greaseproof paper and refrigerate for 2 hours
• roll out the pastry between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper to 5 mm thick
• cut out the biscuits into different shapes
• paint them with a mixture of egg yolk and very little cream
• bake in oven for about 10 minutes
• let them cool before you decorate them more
• keep in an airtight container