Koulouria (Greek Easter Biscuits)
Goodness me, I’m all over the place at the moment. I know Easter was over a week ago but I just HAD to share this with you. This weekend just gone was the Greek Orthodox time to celebrate Easter… so I’ll say it again… HAPPY EASTER (or… Kalo Pashcha)!
My good friend Eirini asked me if I’d like to join her in the kitchen to bake some traditional Greek Easter treats. Needless to say I JUMPED at the chance… I love learning new recipes! It was great to learn about all the Greek Easter traditions whilst she baked. In all Greek households, the week leading up to Easter is all about baking, therefore we made Koulouria. These are traditional orange/vanilla biscuits. They’re all twisted around and baked with a glaze. Deeeeeeelish.
One thing I learned from this cooking experience is that Greeks don’t do things by halves. Eirini brought out the BIGGEST mixing bowl I have ever seen and we made enough dough to feed an army! This is what I love about the Greeks, it’s all about giving. They need to make enough for an army because these are handed out to friends and family who visit over the holiday period. Easter truly is a time for giving… and baking – yessss!
Just so that you know, I’ve halved the recipe for you – which should still be more than enough! Double the quantities if you’re truly baking this Greek style! The recipe is nice and easy but the most time consuming part is rolling them into shape. See if you can coax someone to help you out… tell them it’s quite therapeutic :) and they get to eat biscuits at the end… win win?
Next we dyed the eggs – I haven’t done this for years! It’s a Greek tradition to dye hard boiled eggs red to symbolize Christ’s blood. We got a little bit fancy with ours and picked some parsley out of the garden. This was pressed against the egg and put inside a (clean) stocking with a knot at the end and dipped in the dye for 2-3 minutes. What was left was a delicate little pattern where the parsley was. Cuuuuute! We used Anatoli branded red dye, which is made especially for eggs at Easter. Follow the directions on the packet and then once completed, rub a little olive oil on them to bring out the lovely deep red colour.
I had such a great time cooking these yummy biscuits; I think they’re perfect for any time of year! Thank you to my dear old friend Eirini for showing me the ropes in a traditional Greek kitchen!
Recipe: Eirini :)
1.5 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 orange rind
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1kg self raising flour
1. Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
2. Add eggs one at a time stirring continuously
3. Mix in orange juice, orange rind, milk, cream and vanilla extract slowly until incorporated.
4. Sift flour into the mixture a bit at a time mixing slowly and continuously.
5. Once the mixture has been made turn the oven on to 180ºC to preheat the oven. Next you’ll have to shape the dough. Take a small piece and roll it in well floured hands until it looks like a snake. Then twist it around itself so it looks like a rope. This is the traditional shape you’d see in Greek bakeries.