Vasilopita

Vasilopita

New Year bread

By
From
The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook
Serves
12
Photographer
Alan Benson

New Year bread is traditionally cut at midnight on New Year’s Eve. After baking, a coin is inserted through a slit in the base. The person who finds the coin will have luck in the New Year. Long ago the coin was a gold one, and it was inserted into the dough before baking. Nowadays, because of the nickel content of coins, it is undesirable to bake a coin in the cake.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 teaspoons active dried yeast
185ml lukewarm milk
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest, grated
170g caster sugar
675g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground masticha
125g butter, melted
1 egg, beaten, for glazing
almonds, blanched and split, for decorating

Method

  1. Dissolve the yeast in 60 ml of the milk. Add the remaining milk, eggs, lemon zest and sugar.
  2. Sift 450 g of the flour into a warm bowl with the salt and spice. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the yeast mixture, then stir to mix in a little flour to make a thin batter. Cover and leave in a warm place for 15 minutes, or until bubbles begin to form. Gradually add the warm melted butter.
  3. Mix the dough with your hands until it comes away from the side of the bowl. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, adding the remaining flour as required. Knead for 10 minutes.
  4. Place the dough in a clean bowl brushed with melted butter. Turn the dough over to coat the top with butter. Cover the bowl with a cloth or plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
  5. When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead lightly and shape into a round loaf. Place on a large greased baking tray or in a greased 25 cm deep cake tin. Cover and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled — about 1½–2 hours.
  6. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Brush the bread with the beaten egg. Arrange the almonds in numbers on top, to denote the new year, pressing in lightly.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the base. If it is browning too quickly, cover with a piece of greased brown paper.
  8. Cool on a wire rack, then store in a sealed container.
Tags:
The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook
Tess
Mallos
Middle Eastern
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again