Vasilopita is a New Year’s Day traditional cake in Greece and many other areas in eastern Europe and the Balkans. The cake contains a hidden coin which gives good luck to the receiver. Usually the night of the new year, the moment of the change of the year, the cake is traditionally cut by the oldest member of the family, and the individual who receives the portion of the cake which contains the coin is considered blessed and lucky for a whole New Year.
This age old tradition commenced in the 4th century, when Saint Basil , who was a bishop, wanted to distribute money to the poor people in his Diocese. He wanted to preserve their dignity, so as not to look like charity, he commissioned some women to bake sweetened bread, in which he arranged to place gold coins. So the families in cutting the bread to nourish themselves, were pleasantly surprised to find the coins.
- 300 g butter, at room temperature
- 250 g icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 7 g mahleb
- 2 g mastic
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- zest of 2 oranges
- 1 teaspoons vanilla powder or liquid
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- 80 g milk
- 400 g all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
Decoration: icing sugar
- Preheat oven to 180* C (350*F) Fan.
- In a mixer, beat the butter and icing sugar, with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Stop beating and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat for another 5 minutes. (It is important that the butter is at room temperature. The softer it is the fluffier your mixture will be.)
- While you are waiting, add the remaining ingredients from the 1st mixture (apart from the orange zest) and beat them in a blender along with a tablespoon of sugar, until they become powdery. When ready, add the orange zest and mix.
- Add this powdery mixture to the mixer and beat on low speed.
- Add all the ingredients from the 2nd mixture, in batches. Release the mixing bowl and add the ingredients from the 3rd mixture. Mix with a large spoon.
- Grease a round 25 cm spring form baking pan and dust with flour. Transfer the batter to the baking pan.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes.
- When ready, remove from oven. Allow the cake to cool completely. Pour the icing sugar over it and serve.
The secrets for this recipe are two. The fresh biological eggs and the butter. Produced by The Greek Award Winning Dairy Company “Flegga“, this goat butter gives a velvety consistency and a truly inimitable flavor. Rich source of several vitamins such A, D, E, (E is a powerful antioxidant) B12, K2 (K2 protects against heart disease and osteoporosis). Most of the saturated fats in butter are short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), the most common of which is butyric acid. Butyric acid is a unique component of the milk fat of ruminant animals, such as sheep, and goats. Reduces the inflammations in the digestive system and has been used as a treatment for Crohn’s disease.
This is all due to the free grazing of healthy animals under the sun in one of the most pristine areas of Greece. In the heart of the National Park of Pindos.
Mahleb or Mahalepi (Greek : Μαχλεπι) is an aromatic spice made from the seeds of a species of cherry, Prunus mahaleb. Mahleb is rich source of fatty acids, phytosterols and antioxidant phenols (good for hypertension and colesterol) also contains vitamins B1, B6, E, a tocopherol, proteins, essential oils
Mastic (Greek: Μαστίχα) is a resin obtained from the mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus) cultivated in the Greek island of Chios. Mastic releases a refreshing flavor similar to pine and cedar. Mastic resin absorbs cholesterol, it has antibacterial properties, acts as an oral antiseptic, aids digestion, tightens the gums, heals wounds and scientists discovered that when it is administrated even in small doses it cures stomach ulcers.
Melomakarona are traditional Greek Christmas cookies. Typical ingredients of these biscuits are flour or semolina, sugar, orange fresh juice, cognac (or similar beverage), cinnamon and olive oil. Immediately after baking, they are immersed for a few seconds in cold syrup made of honey, sugar, dissolved in water. Finally, they are decorated with ground, as well as bigger pieces of walnut.
The word “melomakarona” is a combination of the two Greek words: “mèli” which means honey and “makàrona” which comes from the ancient word “makaria” and means “blessed”
For the 1st mixture:
For the syrup:
- 500 g water
- 800 g granulated sugar
- 150 g honey
- 3 stick(s) cinnamon
- 3 cloves
- 1 orange, cut in half
1. Boil all of the ingredients for the syrup, apart from honey, until sugar melts. Remove from heat. Add the honey and mix till combined.
- let syrup cool for 2 – 3 hours. It must be cold by the time the cookies come out from the oven.
- You can prepare the syrup from the day before.
2.Preheat the oven to 190° C (370*F)
To make the cookies, you need to prepare 2 separate mixtures.
4.Add the ingredients of mixture 2 and mix softly for a little while, just until the flour is fully incorporated in the rest of the mix. Be careful not to overwork the cookie dough because the oil may start to seep out and then they won’t turn out crispy.
6.Bake at 190°C for about 20-25 minutes until they are crispy.
7.As soon as you remove them from the oven, soak the hot cookies in the cold syrup for 20-30 seconds.
8.Allow them to drain on a wire rack.
9.Drizzle with honey and chopped walnuts.
Neapolitan pastiera is an Easter dessert made with cooked wheat, eggs, ricotta cheese, and flavoured with flower water (Mille fiori aroma). It is usually eaten at Easter and according to tradition, every family in Naples prepares one during the Holy Week. The recipe for this “cake” probably derives from the breads made from milk and honey that were commonly eaten during the baptism ceremonies the night of Easter when Constatine was Emperor. The modern version of this dessert was invented at the convent of San Gregorio Armeno (located in Naples historic center). A nun decided to make a cake using the ingredients that symbolized life and resurrection.
Ingredients for Pasta Frolla:
- 5 oz butter
- 4 oz confectioners sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- ½ lb all-purpose flour
- lemon zest
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
Ingredients for filling:
- 1 lb ricotta cheese
- ½ lb granulated sugar
- ½ lb cooked wheat
- 3 eggs
- 1 oz mille fiori water
- 3 oz mixed candied fruit
- 1 oz confectioners sugar
Follow the steps below (slideshow)
Before removing from the tray, wait until it has cooled enough. Serve at room temperature .
Store pastiera in its pan covered with plastic wrap in a cool place (room temperature) (Never store pastiera in the fridge. Only in cool place)
” Pan d’ arancio” means orange bread. Is a traditional cake recipe from Palermo. All the fruit is used, only the seeds are discarded. The whole orange with all the peel is blended & added in the mixture.
Full of flavor and nutrients. Extremely quick & easy to make. Baking a cake doesn’t have to be complicated. This recipe work well for cupcakes too, you can add mini chocolate chips in the mixture, an orange icing or chocolate frosting on the top. Perfect for hungry kids at school.
Orange peel is rich of polyphenols (helps keep the gut healthy and is important in helping to reduce the risk of diseases such as diabetes, coronary heart disease), vitamins A, C, folic acid B9 (a water-soluble B vitamin) and other B vitamins, calcium, copper, magnesium and dietary fibers, essential oils and carotenoids
Ingredients for the cake
- 2 organic oranges, washed and cut into pieces
- 100gr seed oil (or 100 gr softened butter)
- 300gr all purpose flour
- 16 gr baking powder
- 250gr sugar
- 100gr milk
- 3 eggs
Ingredients for the icing
- 300 gr icing sugar
- 1 orange (juice)
- Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F
- Puree the diced oranges in a food processor.
- Add all the rest of the ingredients over the purèe (flour+baking powder, sugar, eggs, seed oil, milk)
- Mix until blended
- Grease and flour an 9″ (23cm) pan lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 60 minutes (The cake is ready when a knife or a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean)
- Remove the cake from the oven, and allow to cool completely
- Run a knife around the edge of the pan to release the cake
Icing: In a bowl, mix together the icing sugar with half of the orange juice. Whisk until there are no lumps. You can adjust the consistency to your liking by adding more powdered sugar or juice, to thicken or thin it out.
Pour the icing over the top of the cake.
Saragli’ is a traditional Christmas Greek sweet with plenty of grated walnuts and crispy phyllo drizzled with sweet and spicy syrup.
It is basically “baklava” that is rolled instead of layered. Phyllo sheets are brushed with butter, covered in a seasoned walnut mixture, and rolled up.
If you like crispy pastries, dried fruits, an intense scent of cinnamon and cloves in your home, this is the right recipe for you! Merry Christmas!
This recipe has been adapted by Akis Petretzikis saragli recipe
- 500 g granulated sugar – 300 ml water – 4 cloves – 1 cinnamon stick – Rind from 1 orange – juice of half orange
- 400 g butter
- 100 g walnuts
- 100 g almonds
- 100 g pistachio nuts
- 2teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 packages phyllo dough (900 g)
- pistachio nuts, ground, for serving
- In a pot, add the sugar, water, cinnamon stick, cloves and orange rind.
- Place pot over medium heat.
- In about 2-3 minutes, as soon as the sugar melts, remove pot from heat.
- Add the orange juice, stir and set aside to cool.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat.
- In a food processor grind the walnuts, almonds, cinnamon and cloves together. You don’t want to finely grind them but you don’t want to have large pieces because they will rip through the phyllo dough.
- Transfer the filling to a bowl and transfer the melted butter to a separate bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 160° C (320° F)
- Spread out the phyllo dough on a clean working surface.
- Lay one sheet of phyllo dough separately on your working surface. Drizzle with melted butter, making sure not to let the brush directly touch the phyllo.
- Cover with another sheet of phyllo and drizzle with butter.
- Spread the filling over the entire surface.
- Place two wooden sticks in the middle of the phyllo and roll the smaller side towards the middle, leaving an empty space at the edge.
- Do not roll too tight and gently press the ends together towards the middle with your hands, creating folds in the phyllo and remove the sticks.
- Brush a 30×40 cm baking pan with butter and add the sargli.
- Drizzle with butter immediately and repeat the same process until the baking pan is full of saragli rolls.
- When the pan is full, drizzle any leftover butter over the sargli rolls.
- Bake for 70 minutes.
- When ready, remove from oven and immediately pour the cool syrup over the scorching hot saragli rolls.The temperature of the pastry must be always opposite than the syrup. This is the key for a successful baklava /saragli’
- Allow them to soak up the syrup for 30 minutes.
- Sprinkle with ground pistachio nuts and serve
There are several apocryphal stories about the cake’s origin. A legend told that an Austrian princess married to the king of Naples wanted the Sacher cake (Austrian chocolate cake), but Neapolitan chefs didn’t know this recipe, so they improvised by using a typical Neopolitan ingredient: almonds.
One is of a baker fulfilling an order for an almond cake by a few tourists at his bakery in the 1920s. The baker forgot to add flour to the mix, but the tourists liked the resulting cake and considered it a delicacy. Another account ascribes the invention to two heirs of Austrian painter August Weber, who created it at the Strandpension Weber in the 1930s.
Although its origins are unknown, several aspects of its creation are known. The cake was first created by the hospitality industry of the island of Capri and it was created primarily for tourists to the island. At first, it was likely served in tea rooms. As it became more popular, restaurants incorporated it into their menu.
- 200g dark chocolate, minimum 70% (melted and cooled)
- 200gr unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 200g sugar
- 5 eggs, separated
- 200gr ground almonds (blanched)
- 1 small glass Strega liqueur (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C
- Beat the sugar and butter until creamy, add 1 egg yolk at time, mixing well after each addition.
- Add the melted butter, ground almonds , the liqueur and the melted chocolate. Mix well.
- Beat stiff the egg whites with a pinch of salt and add to the mixture, folding gently.
- Line a cake tin with wet greaseproof paper, pour the cake mixture in it and cook for 40 minutes.
- When cooked cool 20 min then remove from the tin
- Allow to cool to room temperature, then dust the top with powdered sugar
- If you prepare Caprese for Christmas you can decorate it with ice cream cones Christmas trees (Hold each cone and coat it in melted chocolate or nutella. Then cover with ground coconut , groung almonds, colored sprinkles ecc)
Baklava is a rich, sweet pastry popular in Middle Eastern countries made of layers of phyllo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup or honey.
Baklava is normally prepared in large pans. Many layers of filo dough, separated with melted butter are laid in the pan. A layer of chopped nuts—typically walnuts,pistachios or almonds is placed on top, then more layers of phyllo. Most recipes have multiple layers of phyllo and nuts, though some have only top and bottom pastry.
Greek version of baklava is made with 33 dough layers, referring to the years of Christ’s life.
How to cut it in diamond shape (4 steps)
Repeat the same procedure for all quarters
- 1 package phyllo dough
- 300 gr chopped nuts
- 200gr chopped almonds
- 300 gr butter
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon clove powder
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Ingredients or the syrup:
2 cup water
2 cup white sugar
1 orange peel
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup honey
- Preheat oven to 160° C. In a bowl, melt the butter .
- Butter the bottoms and sides of a 33×23 pan.
- Process the nuts until in small, even sized pieces. Combine with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves powder. Set aside. Unroll phyllo dough.Place a sheet of phyllo dough into the pan. Using a pastry brush, brush the phyllo sheet with melted butter. Repeat more times until you have 10 sheets layered.Sprinkle 2 – 3 tablespoons of nut/almond mixture on top. Top with two sheets of dough, butter, nuts, layering as you go.Continue to repeat the nut/almond mixture and two buttered sheets of phyllo until the nut mixture is all used up. The top layer should be about 10 sheets deep. With a cuisine scissors cut out all edges of phyllo.
- Using a sharp knife cut into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan. Bake baklava for about 1 hour until the top is golden brown and crisp and the lower phyllo layers beneath the nut/almond mixture are thoroughly baked through. To test this, use a knife to lift up a corner of one of the pastry rectangles from the center of the pan so you can peek at the bottom layers . If the top starts to get too brown before the pastry is cooked through, lay a piece of foil over the top.
- .While baking, make the syrup.Boil sugar and water until sugar is melted. Add orange peel, cinnamon sticks and honey. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon syrup it . Serve at room temperature.
Very easy , quick & healthy snack for kids . Rich in fibers, vit K , vit C . vit B6 , vit E , vit A , selenium , anthocyanin , potassium , copper (a very effective immune builder and anti-bacterial substance), magnesium , phosphorus , manganese , calcium
- French baguette or other bread of your choise
- Goat cheese (but you can use any creamy fresh cheese such ricotta, robiola, Philadelphia, stracchino, creamy blue cheese etc. )
- Fresh blueberries
- Herbs of your choise (rosemary , mint , thym . basil )
- Cut the baguette from side to side or into thin slices
- Lightly toast it in the oven
- Spread it – with a spatula or knife – with fresh cheese
- Top with fresh blueberries , honey & chopped herbs
- Enjoy this union of creamy flavors, blue sweetness & magical scents from nature ❤ !
Blueberries are heart healthy , brain & immunity boosters, cancer fighters. Keep your eyes healthy, low in calories (1 cup of blueberries=85 calories). Rich in fibers
Spiced red wine poached pears cream filled/ Γεμιστα αχλαδια ποσε’ σε κοκκινο κρασι με μπαχαρικα/Pere ripiene di crema al vino rosso speziato
Poached pears in spiced red wine ( filled with mascarpone cream)
- A. 3 pears (peeled-stalk intact) , 1 bottle red wine , 250 gr sugar , 2 cinnamon sticks , 2 star anise , orange & lemon peel
- B. For mascarpone cream : 100 gr mascarpone (or Philadelphia cheese) , 1 tbs honey, cinnamon . chopped walnuts (optional)
- Put all ingredients (A) except the pears in a saucepan just large enough to hold the fruits and bring to a boil
- Place the pears into the wine mixture then simmer uncovered for about 40-45 min. or until tender when pierced with a fork.
- Transfer pears to a bowl and continue to boil the poaching liquid until reduced to half (about 20 min. until is thickens)
- Now use an apple corer to scoop out the seeds and fill the pears center with the mascarpone cream
Mascarpone cream: Combine mascarpone or Philadelphia , honey , cinnamon , chopped walnuts into a bowl . Mix until smooth and creamy
Ways to serve poached pears :
1.You can serve it with vanilla or cinnamon ice cream , greek yogurt , whipped cream.
2.In a dish or in a glass put pears and some mulled wine (or other liquor 80 proof and above ⇒40% alcohol by volume) and apply a flame to the liquor. We recommend a long lighter. Before you light the drink, remove any alcohol you don’t want to catch fire from the area.
Serve warm, putting a few chopped walnuts or almonds into each glass and enjoy!