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Vasilopita Tsoureki: A Traditional Greek New Year’s Cake

Welcome the New Year with this mouthwatering vasilopita tsoureki. Vasilopita tsoureki (Βασιλόπιτα τσουρέκι) is one of the most delicious and popular Greek New Year’s cakes. In case this is the first time you hear this word, vasilopita literally means St. Basil-pie or king pie. Traditionally, it contains a hidden coin that brings good luck to the person that finds it and Greeks cut it on New Year’s Eve right after the New Year arrives.

Time goes by so quickly! I still remember when I was a kid and I was so anxious to get the piece of the Greek vasilopita with the lucky coin. Now, I see the same happy anxiety in my kids’ eyes! Thus, learning how to make a vasilopita was one of my top priorities when I started cooking! 

In my house we have the tradition to cross the Greek vasilopita cake with the knife three times then we cut the pieces with the following order: the first one for Jesus Christ, the second one for the poor ones, the third one for the home and then from the oldest member of the family (usually the father), then to the youngest and so on.

For this valisopita tsoureki you need the following ingredients: flour, butter, sugar, milk, egg, mahleb, yeast, orange zest, lemon zest, salt, blanched almonds, and Greek olive oil. This traditional Greek New Year’s cake takes 30 minutes to prepare and 40 minutes to bake.

Vasilopita Tsoureki

Vasilopita Tsoureki – Ingredients

  • 150 kg of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teacup of unsalted butter at room temp, 150 g
  • 1 ½ teacup of sugar, 270 g
  • 1 teacup of lukewarm milk, 200g
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 ½ spoon of mahleb, 7.5 g
  • 4 teaspoons of active dry yeast (48 g)
  • 1 tbsp orange zest, 7 g
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest, 7 g
  • 1 spoon of salt, 6 g
  • 2/3 cup of blanched almonds, 80 g
  • 2 – 3 tbsp of sugar, 20-30 g
  • 100 g of Greek olive oil
  • 1 clean coined wrapped in aluminum foil

Vasilopita Tsoureki – Instructions

  1. Start this traditional vasilopita tsoureki by dissolving the yeast in the milk. Add 100 gr of flour.
  2. Beat the eggs in a bowl. Take a pot and add the butter, sugar, lemon zest, orange zest, salt, and beaten eggs.
  3. Turn oven to medium heat and stir until the mixture becomes lukewarm.
  4. Sift the flour and add it to an electric mixer bowl. Add the milk to the dissolved yeast, and the butter mixture.
  5. Add the mahleb and stir the mixture for around 20 minutes at low speed.
  6. Add the oil and continue mixing until the oil is absorbed.
  7. Take a round loose baking pan (20 cm diameter), butter its surfaces and lightly sprinkle it with flour. Place the coin and cover it with the dough. Cover the pan with a kitchen towel and set it in a warm place for 60 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  9. Take a pastry brush and lightly brush the vasilopita with egg. Top over with the blanched almonds and sugar (optional).
  10. Bake for around 40 minutes. Check if the cake is ready with a knife.
  11. Allow vasilopita tsoureki to cool down before serving.

I hope you like this vasilopita tsoureki recipe! This is, afterall, one of the best vasilopita recipe ever! Happy New Year everybody!

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