Christmas is a capital celebration among Greek Orthodox people. Many traditions were associated with the birth of Christ and, while some of them have faded, others are still very alive and characteristic of this very special period of the year.
Greeks take pride in being hospitable – having a little something to offer as a treat to friends who wish “Chrónia Pollà” (this literally means ‘May you live many years’ and it is used in numerous occasions, like birthdays, name days, religious celebrations, etc) is an absolute must. Any decent Greek housewife would feel ashamed and humiliated, had she not at least a tray of special Christmas sweets for an unexpected (or expected) guest.
Along with kourambiethes, Melomakárona, or “small honey buns,” is a traditional sweet served during Greek Orthodox Christmas – and every kid or individual with a sweet tooth is eagerly waiting for a generous Christmas treat of either or both.
The Melomakárona recipe Ingredients:
For the dough:
- 450 grams olive oil
- 200 grams sugar
- 110 gr brandy
- 110 gr orange juice
- Cinnamon and/or grated orange peel
- 7 x 115 gr cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
For the syrup:
- 700 gr honey
- 400 gr sugar
- 450 gr water
- We put the liquids (olive oil, brandy, orange juice) along with the sugar and cinnamon (or orange peel) in a blender and mix well. We pour into a large bowl.
- Gradually add the flour, baking powder and soda into the liquids mix. We whisk gently, then we knead the dough, which must be firm enough to be shaped. We may add flour, as needed.
- Shape the dough into small ovals and bake at 350ο F for 25 minutes. When they are ready, we leave them to cool for a while.
- Prepare the syrup by boiling the syrup ingredients for 5’ and removing the froth. We pour the hot syrup onto the melomakárona. Be careful: the melomakárona must have cooled, or else they will turn into a shapeless mass.
- Sprinkle with finely ground walnut and cinnamon.
Have fun cooking with the Melomakárona Recipe