Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 Vasilopita -βασιλόπιτα, Greek New Years Bread

βασιλόπιτα, Vasilopita is the Greek New Years bread with a lucky coin inside. The bread it cut at midnight and whoever gets the slice with the coin has good luck for the rest of the year. This bread is slightly sweet and flavored with anise, mastiha or fennel seed. My family uses anise seed, probably because it's the most widely available in California supermarkets. I made 3 loaves last night: one with Greek dark chocolate and toasted pine nuts for my lady friends' pot luck tonight, one simple extra large loaf for my Significant (m)Other's fancy schmancy New Years Eve party and a crazy one for my Uncle George. We're using Greek Euros for the coins this year - sterilzed in 2 baths of boiling water. Happy New Years!

Vasilopita with dark chocolate and toasted pine nuts
Plain Vasilopita
Crazy Vasilopita

Recipe from Greek Food
  • 1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons) of dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup of lukewarm milk
  • 8 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 level teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 cup of butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon of fennel seed, ground (I used anise seed)
  • grated peel of 1 lemon
  • .
  • baking parchment paper
  • butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon of water
  • blanched almonds (optional)
  • coin or medallion wrapped tightly in foil (2, if making 2 loaves)
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the 1/2 cup of lukewarm milk. Stir in 1/2 cup of flour and mix until fully combined. Cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let sit in a warm place for 1 hour.

Beat egg whites and salt to the stiff peak stage.
Beat together egg yolks and sugar and add to the yeast mixture and beat well. Beat in melted butter, remaining 1/2 cup of milk, ground fennel seed, and grated lemon peel. Stir in egg whites to distribute thoroughly. Add flour slowly, mixing or kneading with hands until each addition is completely mixed in. The dough should be very dense, but don't use all the flour if not needed.
Form the dough into a ball, place in a bowl, cover with a clean towel, and set in a warm place to rise for about 3 hours, until doubled in size.
Poke the dough with fingers to deflate (do not "punch down") and knead for 5 minutes. Knead in extra chocolate, nuts or dried fruit if desired. Insert the coin or medallion into the dough. Form into one or two round loaves and place in one large or two smaller round baking pans lined with buttered baking parchment paper. Cover with clean towels, set in a warm place, and allow to rise for 2 hours more, until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
With a fork, beat together the egg yolk and water, and brush the top of the loaf (or loaves) with this egg wash. If desired, use the almonds to write out the numerals of the new year (2009, 2010, etc.) on top.
Bake at 350°F (190°C) for 30 to 40 minutes, until dark golden.


Peter M said...

A great looking Vassilopita...Happy New Year, sweet cheeks!

Banana Wonder said...

Peter, Thanks and Happy 2010 to you!!!

maria said...

Kali xronia! Love those vassilopites!

fam. Constantinides said...

Thank you Anna for your Comment about winterland. I think our weather together (at this moment)with your food, will be paradise. Kisses Marion

Diana said...

Wish I could have been there to try the chocolate pine nut one! Happy New Year, TALF!

Banana Wonder said...

Maria, Efharistw kai Kali Xronia!

Marion, Yes, our blogging combo makes the perfect pair =)

Diana, Maybe next year? I would love to make it for you!

Gastronomer said...

Happy belated New Year, Anna! Loved the Vassilopita with the rainbow sprinkles. Festive, for sure!

Banana Wonder said...

Gastronomer, Thanks! Happy belated New Years to you too!

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