Tsourekia (singular tsoureki) pronounced tsou-RHAE-khia, is a kind of brioche sweet bread which is made in Greece during Easter.
In Cyprus we did not use to make tsourekia, so this is something I have learned after coming to Greece.
The other day I was looking through my old note book with recipes and I found this magazine clipping which I had glued in the note book many years ago and I decided to use this as a base.
The only flavourings in this recipe was lemon rind and anise seeds.
I added cardamom, mahleb and mastic resin, which is common to use in tsourekia and I filled it with marmalade and merenda (Greek type of nutella) and sprinkled almonds on top.
The amount of flour given in the recipe was not enough so I had to adjust that.
I used three fillings to see which one would work best. One was with my strawberry jam and it was very good, the other with merenda (the equivalent to nutella) and that was very good as well and the third was with my lemon marmalade I made the other day and the result was extraordinary.
A week later, I made the recipe again using only my lemon marmalade. Needless to say that there were none left in less than 24 hours!
These were perfect for breakfast or a snack.
Update 2017 :
This year I made a different recipe. I weighed the dough into 6 pieces of 200 grams each, which I braided together.
In the video you can watch this new technique of braiding tsoureki with six cords.
The cords are not filled with anything but if you want to fill them, just follow the instructions below.
- 50 grams fresh yeast and 1 sachet dried yeast (8 grams)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp flour and some water, to make the starter
- 2 kilos bread flour
- 140 grams ewes' and goat milk butter
- 70 grams regular cows’ milk butter
- 300 grams whole milk
- 480 grams sugar
- 9 large eggs (60 gr) at room temperature
- 1 ½ tsp mastic powder
- 6 grams mahleb, powdered
- 7 pods of cardamom, only the seeds, powdered
- A pinch of salt
- 1 tsp anise seeds boiled with 1 ½ cups water, strained
- 15 - 20 almonds blanched, peeled and split in the middle
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tbsp citrus blossom water
- 1 tsp sugar
- Prepare the starter. Add the yeast, sugar, flour and enough lukewarm water to make a thick batter. Cover the bowl with a napkin and let it rise.
- Put both types of butter in a pot and warm it up until they melt. Add the milk and sugar and mix until the sugar dissolves. Do not overheat as it should be lukewarm.
- Put the eggs in your stand mixer bowl and using the K beater beat them for a few minutes. Add the butter-milk-sugar mixture and mix.
- Add the starter, the flour, mahleb, mastic powder, cardamom powder and salt and mix. Change the K beater with the hook.
- Finally gradually add the anised water, a little at a time until the dough holds together. You may not need all the water.
- Set the dough aside, covered, and let it rise.
- Knead the dough for a few minutes and weigh 6 pieces of dough, 200 grams each.
- Make them into cords and join them at the top.
- Open to two outer cords and make the other four into two pairs, spaced apart.
- Bring the right outer cord in the centre.
- The outer cord of the first pair goes to the position of the one we put in the centre.
- Again we have two pairs in the centre. Now take the left outer cord and bring it in the centre. The outer cord of the right pair goes in the place of the other cord.
- Continue the same procedure until the tsoureki is braided.
- Cover the braids with a napkin and let them rise.
- Put the yolk in a bowl with some sugar and blossom water and mix to dissolve the yolk.
- Brush the tsourekia with the egg wash and add some almonds on top.
- Preheat the oven to 190ο C. Lower the heat to 180ο C or 160ο C if fan forced and bake for about 45 minutes, or until golden on top.
Nutrition InformationYield 3 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 3375Total Fat 32gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 16gCholesterol 99mgSodium 262mgCarbohydrates 672gFiber 23gSugar 175gProtein 96g
- 100 grams sourdough or 50 grams fresh yeast or 18 grams dry yeast
- 1/2 cup of lukewarm milk
- 1.100 grams of enriched flour or all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon anise seeds boiled in 1 cup of water
- 220 grams sugar (or 1 cup)
- 220 grams of butter (or 1 cup)
- 4 eggs
- ½ teaspoon of ground mahleb
- ½ teaspoon of ground mastic resin
- 7 pods of cardamom (only the seeds)
- Lemon zest from 1 lemon
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon of sugar (for the yeast) + extra for sprinkling on top
- Blanched and cut almonds
- 1 yolk mixed with a spoonful of milk for glazing
For the filling
- Strawberry Jam
- Lemon Marmalade
- Hazelnut praline (Merenda or nutella)
- Chestnut puree
- In a small bowl add a few spoonfuls of flour in which mix the yeast and sugar and then mix with lukewarm milk. Cover with lid and leave to rise (about half an hour).
- Until this is ready, boil the water with the anise seeds and drain keeping the water. Grate the lemon, pound the cardamom, mastic gum and the mahleb and blanche and cut the almonds.
- With a hand mixer beat the butter and sugar until white and fluffy.
- In a big bowl put the flour, reserving about a cup, and add the yeast, the eggs, the salt, the cardamom, the mastic and mahleb and lemon rind as well as the butter-sugar mixture and mix, adding the lukewarm anise water. Knead with your hands until the dough does not stick on the bowl or your hands.
- Cover the bowl with its lid and place it in a baking tin with lukewarm water and leave it for about an hour to rise and double in volume.
- Knead again a couple of times and take three pieces the size of your fist. Roll out into rectangular sheets about 5 x 3 inches and add either jam or any other filling on one side and then make a roll and with your hands try to make each roll a little bit longer. When all three are ready stick the ends together and form into a plait.
- Line a baking tin with parchment paper and place each plait in it but not too close to each other. Cover with cling film and then cover with a napkin and it must rest to rise for about an hour, in which time it will rise again.
- You can also make one big roll and just give it a simple twist.
- Brush with the egg-milk mixture on top and sprinkle some sugar and some blanched almond flakes.
- Preheat oven at 180ο C and bake for about 30 – 40minutes or until golden brown.
Note: Without the filling it is not sweet so if you do not want to add the filling you can add ½ cup of extra sugar in the batter.
This recipes makes 3 large tsourekia or 8 - 10 small ones.
Nutrition InformationYield 3 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 1541Total Fat 83gSaturated Fat 43gTrans Fat 2gUnsaturated Fat 33gCholesterol 471mgSodium 1181mgCarbohydrates 179gFiber 14gSugar 96gProtein 33g
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