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Tsourekia with lemon marmalade filling

Tsourekia image


Tsourekia (singular tsoureki) pronounced tsou-RHE-khia, is a kind of brioche 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 and I adjusted 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. (Hopefully I shall post about this soon but this week I will be posting mostly recipes having to do with Easter, so if any one wants the recipe soon I can e-mail it to you).

Needless to say that there were none left in less than 24 hours but next week I shall make a double dose only with the lemon filling.

These will be perfect for breakfast.



Tsoureki with lemon marmalade filling, recipe adapted by Ivy

Preparation time:  1 hour

Baking time 30 – 40 minutes

(about 1 – 2 extra hours for the dough to rise)

Makes: 10 small tsourekia


  • 7 grams dry yeast (or 100 grams fresh 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
  • 1 yolk mixed with a spoonful of milk for glazing
  • ½ teaspoon of ground mahleb
  • ½ teaspoon of ground mastic resin
  • 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

For the filling

  • Strawberry Jam
  • Lemon Marmalade
  • Merenda (nutella)


  1. 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).
  2. Untilthisisready, boilthewaterwiththeaniseseedsand drain keeping the water.Grate the lemon, pound the mastic gum and the mahleb and blanche and cut the almonds.With a hand mixer beat the butter and sugar until white and fluffy.
  3. In a big bowl put the flour, reserving about a cup, and add the yeast, the eggs, the salt, 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.Coverthebowlwithitslidandplaceitinabaking tin with lukewarm water and leave it for about an hour to rise and double in volume.
  4. 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 merenda 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.You can make any shapes you like or you can just make it like a cake.
  5. 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.
  6. We can also make one big roll and just give it a simple twist.
  7. Brush with the egg-milk mixture on top and sprinkle some sugar and some blanched almond flakes.
  8. Preheat oven at 180οand bake for about 30 – 40minutes until a nice brown colour is achieved.

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 butter.

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17 Responses

  1. Peter G

    Nice tsourekia Ivy. I’m in the middle of making mine as we speak and I think the recipe I followed had too much flour! Subsequently it’s a bit “stiff”. I made mine with portokali and I am trying to rescue them! If all fails then I’ll do them again tmrw. Nice touch with the marmalade filling.

  2. Ivy

    Good luck Peter. The dough must be a bit stiff, I don’t know how much stiff yours are but I think they should turn out fine. I look forward to seeing your recipe.

  3. Cakelaw

    These look delicious Ivy!

  4. Ginny

    This looks so great! I’ve never put jam inside a bread! I’ll have to try it! 🙂

  5. Ivy

    Thanks Cakelaw they were delicious.

  6. Ivy

    Hi Ginny, thanks for passing by. It’s not exactly a bread, it’s more like a bun and it is not usually filled but traditionally it is decorated with a red Easter egg.

  7. Rosie

    These look SO delicious Ivy 🙂

    Rosie x

  8. Bellini Valli

    I tried mastic icecream and I think a mastic submarine spoon sweet when I was in Greece. I can’t recall where the mastic comes from..I will have to Google it.Computers are so handy when you need to know something. These tsourekia sound like a perfect offering for Easter guests and family as well Sis:D

  9. Ivy

    Sorry I didn’t mention this in the post. Mastic gum or raisin comes from a tree that grows on the island of Chios. They tried to cultivate it in other parts of the world, even other parts of Greece and the tree will not produce the gum elsewhere.

  10. Sam Sotiropoulos

    I am waiting for my tsoureki dough to finish rising as I write this! From what I know, Gemisto Tsoureki is a specialty of “Attiki” or Attica in English… Good job!

  11. Ivy

    Good luck Sam, I am looking forward to seeing your recipe.

  12. Núria

    Wow Ivy! you keep on surprising me, you are such a great cook! Your family must be soooooo happy :D!

    Your Tsoureki looks amazing, so beautifully done, and the inner part so well cooked. Bravo!

  13. This looks so delicous too ivy. I will make them oneday, but then i thinl i will do the nuttela filling as my daughter would love them.
    I have no idea what mastic gum is can i replace with anything else.

  14. Ivy

    My daughter also loves them with nutella.
    Mastic resin is a Greek spice which is very aromatic. You can surely omit it or substitute it by another flavour.

  15. I guess I will omitt them as I am sure i would not find them here.
    Did you make the braided one with the whole dough?

  16. Ivy

    HC it’s okay if you omit it. I made about ten tsourekia not very big though. It would make about 5 big ones.

  17. Thankyou for the info ivy