Pascha (Easter) comes but once a year
When it does we all know it's here
Housewives working with twice the zeal
Courage, girl, keep good cheer
Easter comes but once a year
(apologies to J.S. Bach)
All this week important preparations are being carried out. Crucial discussions take place on the size of the animal to be sacrificed. Lamb or goat? Who has the fattest, the cheapest. Where did they graze? And the wine! Whose harvest was exceptional this year. Who puts sugar or additives in their wine and who doesn't. Sunday we will have the Mother of all Greek feasts.
Today is Holy Tuesday. Time for easter koulourakia. Cookies/biscuits. I could put up last year's photos and the year befores and so on. But the grandchildren have grown a year so here is what happened in our traditional greek house today.
Koulourakia are large sweet biscuits eaten all during the year. At easter there are special recipes for Pascalina Koulourakia and they are not eaten until after the midnight mass on Saturday night, because they have eggs and butter. All these years I, the heathen, was the only one allowed to taste them.
500 grams butter
500 grams sugar
zest from 3 oranges
mastiha pounded in pestle and mortar or cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
120 grams fresh orange juice
10 grams baking powder
1350 grams flour and maybe more
Beat the butter and the sugar till light and creamy. Add mastiha and orange juice, zest, salt, vanilla, then the eggs, one by one.
Now add the baking powder and the flour slowly, cup by cup using your hands. Depending on the brand of flour you may need less or more. The dough should be soft but not sticky.
Take a handful of dough, break off a small piece and roll it on the bench till it is a nice long but not too thin rope. Shape it into spirals or plaits. Just make sure they are all more or less the same size and need the same baking time. Place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper, not too close together.
Beat an egg and brush each koulouraki with an egg glaze.
Cook about 25 minutes at 160oC till golden brown.