Last year, our good friend Peggy told me about a family favorite they make for Thanksgiving.
Giftas (pronounced Yiftas)
I had never heard of Giftas before, but in the spirit of friendship and Thanksgiving, Peggy brought us Giftas for our Thanksgiving feast.
What a treat. Every single bit of Giftas was consumed.
This year I decided to make Giftas for Thanksgiving. I didn’t want to bother Peggy, so I went online to find the recipe. How hard could this be?
It turns out, there are several different versions of Giftas.
Most recipes called for whipped cream (some even suggested Cool Whip!). Some recipes featured vanilla pudding (AND whipped cream). Most recipes suggested cranberries (after all, Wisconsin produces more cranberries than any other state and produces more than half of the entire world’s supply!).
While I didn’t find any recipes featuring lingonberries, they were evidently in the original recipe. They are a staple in Sweden and since this is a Swedish recipe….
As for the Saltines…..the Saltines are the key to a good Gifta. I did see a couple of recipes that called for graham crackers, but I’m a sucker for tradition (and I didn’t have any graham crackers in the house).
The melted butter/Saltine cracker mix? I don’t think I need to explain butter, do I?
I wasn’t sure which recipe Peggy’s family used.
So I decided to do a bit of research.
(I love research).
Actually, all the combinations were pretty darned good, but I especially liked the cranberry/lingonberry combo. The cranberries are pretty and the lingonberries soften the tartness of the cranberries. The whipped cream was nice and fresh tasting and the buttery, salty wonderful Saltine crackers? Yum.
Giftas (pronounced Yiftas)
- 1/2 cup cranberry sauce (your own recipe or canned)
- 1/2 cup lingonberries (if you can't find lingonberries, use cranberry sauce)
- 2 cups whipped cream
- 4 Tbsp confectioners' sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (use pure extract, you'll be happier)
- 2 cups saltines, crushed (one sleeve of saltines = 2 cups crushed)
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- Mix the cranberry sauce and lingonberries together.
- Whip the cream with the confectioners' sugar and vanilla.
- Crush the saltines (I put them in a zip lock bag and crush them with a rolling pin).
- Melt the butter.
- Mix the butter and saltines together.
- Layer the ingredients in a clear straight sided bowl.
- 1st layer: 1/2 the crumbs
- 2nd layer: 1/2 the cranberry/lingonberry mixture
- 3rd layer: 1/2 the whipped cream
- 4th layer: the remaining crumbs (reserve just a little for the top)
- 5th layer: the remaining cranberry/lingonberry mixture
- 6th layer: the whipped cream
- Sprinkle a few of the buttery crackers on top
- Chill for 2 or 3 hours.
Here’s what I know for sure about this dish.
It’s very popular in Wisconsin and Minnesota
It was originally made with Lingonberries
It’s pronounced Yiftas!
It’s a lovely gift from a lovely friend.
Thank you, Peggy. You are now officially part of our tradition.