Friday, 18 April 2014

Tsourekia - Greek Mama Project



Recipe: Tsourekia
By: Dina Tzouras

My koubara’s mum makes the BEST tsourekia. 
They are moist, stringy and smell and taste divine! I have tried to be at her house every Easter to see how she makes them but either work, babies or illness have gotten in our way.  So yesterday, after 2 decades the day had arrived and it was worth the wait.  This morning I woke up to the smell of tsoureki on my little Evangeline’s breath.  She had climbed out of bed, attacked the tsoureki meant for our Easter table, climbed into my bed to tell me that she loved me.  I thanked her, of course, and asked her if she had eaten the tsoureki.  Her proud and very cheeky response “ Yes, it was DELICIOUS!!”


Most ingredients where measured the traditional Greek way.  With a water glass.  I weighed the water and it was exactly 300g, as was the milk.  I must say I didn’t weigh the sugar.


Yields 12 x approx 25cm tsourekia
3 kilos sifted bread flour
1 tsp salt
2 packets ground mahlepi
1 pack mastiha, crushed into powder
+ 1 cup extra flour
1 glass warm/tepid water
90g fresh yeast
35g dried yeast
3 glasses milk
3 glasses sugar
325g  unsalted butter
1 glass orange juice
rind of 1 lemon and 1 orange
12 eggs, separated
6 egg yolks for basting
flaked almonds
sesame seeds

Step 1
Combine 1 cup flour, yeast and tepid water.  Knead well in a bowl, mark a cross over the dough, wrap in a blanket and leave aside until it doubles in size.


Step 2
Warm milk and sugar in a saucepan.  Stir well to dissolve the sugar

Step 3
Melt butter

Step 4
Sift 3 kilos flour in a large bowl, add mahlepi, salt and rind

Step 5
Separate 12 eggs.  Beat the egg whites until very frothy (just before meringue stage) Add the yolk and beat until well combined

Step 6
Make a well in the flour and add the yeast mixture
Mix the warm milk/sugar mixture in the flour and yeast mixture
Add the egg mixture to the bowl and continue to incorporate
At this stage yeast mixture and flour etc should be all incorporated.  This is where the hard works begins.

Make space in the bowl on the side, by pushing the dough to the other side, and pour the hot melted butter. Add the orange juice to make the mixture cooler to handle. 

Now handful at a time add the butter to the dough, knead well to incorporate and continue doing this until all butter and orange mixture is combined.  Knead for at least 20 minutes.  Muscle power is required!!

The final result is a sticky soft dough

Leave it in the bowl.  Wrap it in a blanket in front of the heater and leave for 2 hours until doubled in size.  Tradition has it to also cover it in a man’s jumper as that brings extra warmth.
 
Koubara about to work her magic!









My goddaughter Denise and her giagia.  The tradition being passed on.






Getting this yummy dough all snug and warm




Step 7
Shape your tsourekia.

Grab a handful of dough and roll into a rope.  To ensure the tsoureki forms “strings” which is the making of a GREAT tsoureki, as you are rolling ensure that your hands move in opposite directions.

Usually we move both our hands forwards and then back simultaneously.  In this case move one hand forward and the other back.  This twists the rope and creates the strings.

The great unveil...


perfect


Now the braiding

Step 8
Place the shaped tsourekia on grease paper proof lined tray and leave in a warm environment until doubled. 

Step 9
Once the tsourekia have doubled, baste with the beaten egg yolks, VERY GENTLY OR THEY WILL COLLAPSE, sprinkle with the almonds and sesame seeds and add the red easter egg.


This step is extra important.  Be very gentle as too much pressure will deflate the dough.


Step 10

Bake for 20-25 minutes in a 170º to 180º oven.



THANK YOU KOUBARA FOR THIS MASTERPIECE!




GOOD LUCK & HAPPY EASTER 

Carol xxxxxx











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