Origin of the ‘Horn of Plenty’
Amalthea and Zeus
Greek myth states that Zeus was raised from an infant by a goat name Almathea. She hid from his father, Cronos, in the mountains of Crete. She nursed him with her milk and protected him so he could become the powerful god he was meant to be. One day, Zeus accidentally broke one of Amalthea’s horns while he was playing. To show his regret, he repaid her by using his powers to ensure the horn would always filled with whatever Amalthea wished – eternal abundance.
Achelous’s Horn and Hercules
This version tells of Hercules, Zeus’ son, who finds himself in a battle with Achelous, god of the river, to win the heart of Deianira, the daughter of King Aeneus. Achelous tried turning himself into several creatures during the battle in attempt to beat Hercules, one of which was a bull. Hercules broke off one of his horns. Achelous, defeated, turned back into his true form and returned to the river. Deianira and Hercules kept the horn of Achelous and filled it with fruits and flowers to celebrate their marriage.
Amalthea’s Horn and Hercules
There is a slightly different version that says that Hercules, as Zeus’s son, was owner of Amalthea’s Horn of Plenty, and after battle with Achelous and feeling guilty for breaking off his horn, he gave him the Horn of Amalthea as a peace-offering.
While modern day cornucopia’s do not have magical powers, they are a traditional way to decorate a holiday table. Below is a recipe for making your own bread cornucopia that is not only attractive, but edible!
Make your own bread cornucopia:
Prep: 30 min. Bake: 1 hour + cooling
Ingredients and Materials needed:
- Disposable round 12- to 14-inch aluminum pizza pan (solid or perforated)
- Cooking spray
- Baking sheet
- 2 loaves (1 pound each ) frozen bread dough, thawed (or homemade dough for two 1-pound loaves)
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- Aluminum foil
Making form from pizza tin. To make a form, roll pizza pan into a cone shape with a 5-inch circular opening, as in Fig. 1. Curve pointed end to one side to create cornucopia shape. Spray both the form and the baking sheet with cooking spray. Place form on the baking sheet.
Roll each loaf of bread dough into a 15- x 9-inch rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Cut each rectangle into six 15- x 1-1/2-inch strips. Cover bread dough strips lightly with a towel. Starting at the curved point, wrap one strip around the form, overlapping strips by 1/2 inch as you wrap (see Fig. 2). Add additional strips as needed, pinching ends together to seal.
Wrapping dough strips around form. Continue to wrap until you reach the circular opening of the form. Seal last dough strip underneath the cornucopia. (Any remaining bread dough may be shaped into rolls and baked as desired). Cover with a towel and let dough rest 15 minutes. Beat egg and water together and brush over cornucopia.
Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Cover with foil; bake for another 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 250° bake 20 minutes more or until bread sounds hollow when tapped. Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Carefully remove form, compacting it as needed. Cool completely.
Cornucopia may be made up to 5 days in advance. Store at room temperature, covered lightly with a towel.To use, place cornucopia on a tray or board. Fill with nuts, greens or herbs such as rosemary, cranberries, rolls, fruits or other decorations as desired for a centerpiece.
Finished size: Cornucopia is 11 inches long x 8 inches wide (at widest point) x 5 inches tall (at tallest point).
Originally published as Baked Cornucopia in Crafting Traditions September/October 1995