Luukku 20. Greek Christmas, part 2.

Greek Flavours for your Christmas

The kitchen duty doubles during the weeks before Christmas. Preparing homemade sweets and a special meal is very important. Christmas is a big family holiday in the Greek culture and it is common that the whole family gets together, “My big fat Greek wedding” style. You can still find yourself having “Christmas dinner” with distant relatives two days after the Christmas Day. Eating the leftovers for at least one week is inevitable! The Christmas feasts’ main courses are pies and pork or beef. Either cooked in the oven or as a stew, our pork almost literally swims in sauce. Heavy and tasty Greek food!

Two types of traditional sweets are enjoyed with passion in huge portions during the vacations. As a child it was impossible to resist attacking them immediately when they came out of the oven. You really should try these recipes!!

Melomakarona

Ingredients:

300gr orange juice

265gr olive oil or other vegetable oil

600gr flour for all uses

15gr sugar powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (and a little more if preferable)

1/2 teaspoon cloves powder

25gr melted butter

Orange jest

Walnuts broken in large pieces

Ingredients for the syrup:

500gt water

700gr sugar

1 orange cut in half

2 cinnamon sticks

100gr honey

Preparation:

First prepare the syrup.

  1. In a pot boil for 1min the water, sugar, orange and cinnamon sticks.
  2. Remove the pot for the fire and add the honey. Let it cool.

Next make the pastries.

  1. In a big bowl mix the liquid ingredients and the butter.
  2. Add the sugar powder and the spices.
  3. Use your hand to mix in the flour slowly. Mix smoothly by hand from the centre towards the outside so the dough doesn’t get too firm (Don’t mix it too much to avoid thickening)
  4. Mold the pastries in small oval shape. Press the cheese grater softly on them to give them texture.
  5. Put them on baking paper and bake them in pre-heated oven for 30min at 180C, until they get a dark golden colour.
  6. As soon as they come out of the oven, while they are still hot, dip them in the syrup. Using a big spoon turn them from both sides for around 1min. Take them out and let them drip the extra syrup.
  7. Put them on a big serving plate and decorate them with the walnuts. Cover with cellophane.

They will be crunchy outside while soft and juicy inside…if not, they’ll still be tasty. Only Greeks would notice the mistake, so just avoid offering them some!

Kourabiedes

Ingredients:

500gr butter in room temperature

300gr vegetable oil, not olive oil (see, we’re not obsessed with it)

vanila extract

1½ cup or 2 cups of sugar powder (depending on how sweet you want them to be)

1 shot of ouzo or tsipouro, if you don’t like the anise taste of ouzo (you can use Koskenkorva instead)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1½ or 2kg soft flour

Preparation:

  1. By hand or with a spoon mix the butter to melt.
  2. Slowly whisk the oil with the butter.
  3. Add the vanilla, baking soda (diluted in some of water), ouzo or tsipouro, sugar.
  4. Add slowly as much flour as you feel is needed so the dough is soft and fluffy.
  5. Roll the dough on the table, a bit thicker than 1 finger.
  6. Use cutters to make shapes (like when you bake cookies). Put them on baking paper leaving space between.
  7. Bake in pre-heated oven for 20min at 180C.
  8. Sprinkle sugar powder on them while they’re still hot (so it will stick on them). Cover with SELOFAN.

They will be soft and easy breaking.

Beware of the powder sugar! Don’t sneeze while eating!!!


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