Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Easter bickies

Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more

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.

First make a long cord of dough.  Then play with it

Traditional shaped koulourakia

Other inspired efforts, some traditional, some not.  They all tasted fantastic with aromas of butter, vanilla and orange.


500 grams butter
500 grams sugar
zest from 3 oranges
mastiha  pounded in pestle and mortar or cinnamon 
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs
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.


Most of them were eaten on the spot by seven hungry children but a large plateful was left to give away to friends and neighbours.


  1. Thank you for the recipe, i think i shall use it soon with my grandchildren.

    1. The children love these because they can roll them out and make all sorts of different shapes. They are delicious too

  2. I don't make them anymore. I just don't have the energy
    But I love eating them lol I might make them again once the granddaughter gets a little older

    1. She'll love making koulourakia. Play dough!!!

  3. Cook's perks, I don't blame them. Delicious works of art.
    Is that mixer bowl made out of Pyrex? I grew up with one and lived in ffear of being the one to break it - I was the family 'bull in a china shop' always dropping or breaking things.

    1. That is a pyrex bowl and it weighs a ton. How it has not slipped and broken I do not know. I use a hand mixer and a plastic bowl but K insists the kids use the pyrex one

  4. I loved reading about this Easter Tradition Linda! I love all of the holidays and how they are celebrated in other countries. Your grandchildren look like they are really getting into the feel of things! What a blessing that you can do this together! xoxo

    1. Hi Marie. All the grandkids get on really well together and the older ones help the youngest. They all have a lot of fun otherwise they wouldn't do it!! We're lucky we all live so close

  5. Very pretty cookies, with the egg glaze on them to make them shiny! Is there anything of the Easter tradition involving egg hunts, candy, chocolate bunnies, in Greece? -Jenn

    1. No egg hunts. Chocolate eggs and bunnys are a new thing, in fashion since we've joined Europe. There are so many greek easter traditions!!! Easter is a much bigger celebration than xmas

  6. Great butterfly fridge magnet. We collect them too.

    1. You've got sharp eyes!
      Love magnets

  7. i wonder if some people add mastika to retsina?

    1. Mastiha is a spice with a mild sort of ouzo taste. Retsina has the taste of the resin from a pine tree.
      Mastiha come to think of it is resin from the mastiha tree . Found in the middle east