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Vasilopita
The Greek New Year’s Eve lucky cake is called Vasilopita. The cake contains a hidden gold or silver coin which is slipped into the dough before baking. The person who is fortunate enough to receive the slice containing the coin is believed to attract good luck throughout the year. The most enthralling element of the Greek custom of Vasilopita for the New Year is that this amaranthine recipe has endured for centuries in Greece. Family and friends join in the cutting of the Vasilopita in early January every year.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Passive Time 3,5 hours
Servings
slices
Ingredients
For the Vasilopita
For the glaze
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Passive Time 3,5 hours
Servings
slices
Ingredients
For the Vasilopita
For the glaze
Instructions
For the Vasilopita
  1. In a medium bowl mix 1/2 cup of flour with the yeast and water, using a rubber spatula, until the texture is smooth. Place plastic wrap over the bowl. Leave the sourdough starter to ferment and double in size at warm room temperature for 30'.
  2. In a large bowl combine the remaining flour with the grape molasses, juniper berries and salt.
  3. Gradually pour the olive oil into the large bowl while mixing it thoroughly with the other ingredients for about 15' until the dough is smooth. Place plastic wrap over the bowl and let the dough rest at warm room temperature until the sourdough starter is ready.
  4. Mix the sourdough starter with the dough using a rubber spatula. Place plastic wrap over the bowl and let the dough double in size at warm room temperature for about 3 hours.
  5. Using pastry brush grease a 22cm round cake tin with some olive oil. Place the dough very gently into the cake tin.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180°C (356°F). You will notice that the dough begins to rise again.
  7. Bake for 40'. Once the cake is fully cooked, take it out of the oven and let it cool.
For the glaze
  1. Add the ingredients into a bowl and using a whisk blend them thoroughly for about 5'.
  2. Drizzle half of the glaze over the cake. Set the remaining glaze aside. Refrigerate the cake for 10'.
  3. Remove the cake from the fridge and drizzle the remaining glaze over the cake.
Recipe Notes

The Greek custom of Vasilopita for the New Year

The Greek New Year’s Eve lucky cake is called Vasilopita. The cake contains a hidden gold or silver coin which is slipped into the dough before baking. Vasilopita is usually cut at midnight on New Year’s Eve. The person who is fortunate enough to receive the slice containing the coin is believed to attract good luck throughout the year. Family and friends join in the cutting of the Vasilopita in early January every year.

How is the Greek custom of Vasilopita linked to Kronos, the primordial deity of time and karma?

The most enthralling element of the Greek custom of Vasilopita for the New Year is that this amaranthine recipe has endured for centuries in Greece. This cake has historic links to the mythical Golden Age, a period of peace and prosperity when people enjoyed a life of elysian ease. During the Golden Age, according to Greek mythology and Greek legends, Astraea, the celestial virgin goddess of justice, lived among the Golden Race of humanity ruled by the Titan Kronos, a primordial deity of karma and time. In reminiscence of the Golden Age, the Greeks celebrated the Kronia, a festival held in honour of Kronos to celebrate the harvest. Kronia was an outdoor festival, so people dressed informally.

Kronia was a pastoral and agricultural festival with rustic style and a celebration of the crops and harvest with an ecocentric approach to religious blessing. During this festival there was no animal sacrifice and people ate fruits, bread and pastries. People engaged in games of chance and tested their luck. But it was during the millennium of Byzantine Greece that this sweet pastry received its contemporary name as it was named after Saint Basil the Great, the bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia.

Throughout history, Vasilopita’s recipe has evolved; a heightened awareness of environmental abuse has led to a rise in vegan and plant-based eating. This vegan Vasilopita pastry recipe is the veganized version of a Byzantine Greek recipe.

Vegan Vasilopita has a compound of intriguing flavours, beginning with the mellow and earthy flavour of grape molasses then bringing in the piney taste of juniper berries with their delicate citrus overtones.

A Retro Decoration Idea to Try

For a retro decoration, glaze the cake with 1/2 cup of grape molasses and garnish with nuts, such as ground walnuts, ground almonds or almond flakes, chopped pistachios. I like to follow vintage cake decorating trends, as my photos will testify!

In the media

Vegan Vasilopita recipe was first published on January 6, 2019 in Mookychick Magazine.


Vasilopita

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