Tsoureki, plural Tsourekia, (pronounced TSOU-rhe-kee), is a slightly sweet Greek bread, similar to brioche, which is braided and made throughout the year. It is also part of our Easter and Christmas traditions.
These are the tsourekia I made last year. I made them with chestnut filling and glazed them with chocolate.
The chestnut filling is optional but it’s an addition that surely adds to the wonderful taste. If you don’t have chestnut puree you can add marmalade, as I did a few years ago. This year, I have a lot of mixed citrus marmalade which I intend to use.
The chocolate glaze is also optional but if you love chocolate you should add it.
How to make Tsoureki
In a small bowl dissolve the yeast with lukewarm milk and add a couple tablespoons of flour together with the sugar and mix with. Cover and leave to rise (about fifteen minutes).
Flavours added to tsourekia
Boil the water with the anise seeds and drain keeping the water.
Grate some lemon zest, pound the mastic gum and the mahleb.
Blanche the almonds and cut them into thin slices.
In the mixer beat the butter and sugar until white and fluffy.
Change the paddle and attach the hook on your mixer. Add the flour and the yeast mixture. Set aside about 1/2 cup flour.
Add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated and then add the salt, the mastic, mahleb and lemon rind, adding the lukewarm anise water. The dough is ready when it does not stick on the bowl or your hands.
Add the remaining flour, if necessary.
Cover the dough with a napkin and leave it for about an hour to rise and double in volume.
The chestnut filling
While preparing the bread, put the chestnuts in a small saucepan together with the milk, vanilla and sugar. Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes, mixing every now and then.
Remove from the heat and set aside until it cools. Then in a food processor put the chestnuts, without the milk and puree, adding some of the milk, if necessary, to make a thick (but not watery) paste.
Preparing the tsourekia
Knead the dough again a couple of times and divide it in four equal parts.
Divide again each part into three parts. Roll out each piece into rectangular sheets about 12 x 9 cm (5 x 3 inches ).
Add the chestnut puree on one side and then make a roll. Press the two edges so that the filling will not ooze out. Stretch the roll, trying to make each roll a little longer.
When all three are ready stick the ends together and form into a braid.
Line a baking tin with parchment paper and place each braid apart as they will rise. Cover with cling film and then cover with a napkin. Set aside until they rise again.
Mix the egg yolk with the milk and brush them on top. Add the almonds on top.
Place the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F.
Bake for about 30 – 40 minutes until they brown on top.
The tsourekia are now ready and set aside to cool.
The chocolate glaze
The chocolate glaze is optional but for chocolate lovers, these are amazing as chocolate pairs well with the chestnut filling.
Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler. Add the butter and cream and mix.
Place the tsourekia on a wire rack with parchment paper below and pour the chocolate on top of each tsoureki.
If we prefer to have two kinds of chocolate glazes, in the same bowl add the dark chocolate with just a little butter and cream and heat until it melts.
Using a spoon decorate tsourekia making patterns on top.
Update: Tsourekia Easter 2013
I used the same recipe as above. Before adding all the flour I removed half the amount of the dough. After finishing with the white one, I sifted 30 grams cocoa powder and mixed it with less than ¼ cup of tepid milk. I added it to the dough and added more flour.
I rolled out white and chocolate dough and put it on top of each other in four layers. I cut it into stripes and braided it.
What to make with leftover tsourekia
During Easter we usually make a lot of things, such as Easter cookies and Flaounes, which is the Cypriot traditional Easter bread.
So, if you have any leftover tsourekia which you don’t want to eat any more, don’t through them away when they become stale. A good way to use them is to make Tsoureki Pudding.
For the yeast:
- 63 grams (11/2 package) fresh yeast
- ½ teaspoon of sugar (for the yeast) + extra for sprinkling on top
- 1/2 cup of lukewarm milk
- 2 tablespoons flour (out of the whole flour used)
For the dough:
- 1.400 grams of strong flour or all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon anise seeds boiled in 1 cup of water
- 220 grams sugar (or 1 cup)
- 220 grams sheep and goat butter (or 1 cup)
- 4 eggs
- ½ teaspoon of ground mahleb
- ½ teaspoon of ground mastic gum
- Lemon zest from 1 lemon
- ½ teaspoon of salt
For the filling:
- 250 grams chestnuts (after being boiled and peeled)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 ½ cups milk
- A few drops of vanilla essence
For the egg wash:
- 1 egg yolk mixed with a spoonful of milk for glazing
- ½ cup blanched and cut almonds
For the chocolate glazing:
- 200 grams white chocolate
- 50 grams dark chocolate
- 75 ml cream
- 1 teaspoon butter
- In a small bowl add a couple tablespoons of flour together with the yeast and sugar and then mix with lukewarm milk to dissolve the yeast. Cover and leave to rise (about fifteen minutes).
- Put the chestnuts in a small saucepan together with the milk and sugar. Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes, mixing every now and then. Remove from the heat and set aside until it cools. Then in a food processor puree
the chestnuts adding some of the milk to make a thick (but not watery) paste.
- Until this is ready, boil the water with the anise seeds and 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.
- In a big bowl put the flour, reserving about a cup and add 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. Use the dough hook of your mixer or knead with your hands until the dough does not stick on the bowl or your hands. Cover the bowl with its lid and leave it for about an hour to rise and double in volume. (If the room temperature is low, put the bowl in another bigger bowl or baking tin filled with lukewarm water).
- Knead again a couple of times and divide the dough in four equal parts. Each part divide again into three parts. Roll out each piece into rectangular sheets about 5 x 3 inches and add the chestnut puree 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 braid.
- Line a baking tin with parchment paper and place each braid 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.
- We 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 almonds, split in two pieces.
- Preheat oven to 180ο and bake for about 30 – 40 minutes until a nice brown colour is achieved.
- When tsourekia have cooled, melt the white chocolate in a double boiler. Add butter and cream and mix.
- Place tsoureki on a wire rack with parchment paper below and pour chocolate
on top of each tsoureki. In the same bowl add the dark chocolate with just a
little butter. When it melts decorate tsourekia.
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 1780Total Fat 65gSaturated Fat 25gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 35gCholesterol 327mgSodium 744mgCarbohydrates 247gFiber 27gSugar 151gProtein 69g
"These values are automatically calculated and offered for guidance only. Their accuracy is not guaranteed."
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Wishing you all a Happy Easter,