We are right around the corner from Pasxa! I was lucky enough to spend a week in Kefalonia with my dear friend Athina from Kicking Back The Pebbles blog.
Have you been to Kefalonia? An island that is located in the Ionian sea, surrounded by rocky landscape and beautiful beaches. I am staying in the capital of Kefalonia called Argostoli. Did you know Kefalonia is the biggest island in the Ionian chain?
Here are a few of my absolute favorite Pasxa recipes. I am sharing a little bit of sweet and savory in the mix. My favorite food bloggers are included in the mix too! Don’t forget to show them some love.
First I am sharing my favorite bread; tsoureki but this recipe is made with olive oil.
You can make tsoureki with butter or olive oil and infuse the bread with many herbs such as mastiha, mahlepi, orange, lemon, vanilla, cardamom, cinnamon, and much more.
Fluffy Tsoureki with Olive Oil
4 medium loaves or 2 large loaves
- 3 1/2 teaspoons of dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons of sugar (I use organic sugar)
- 1 3/4 warm water (make sure the water isn’t too hot)
- 1/2 + 3 tablespoons of organic sugar
- 1/2 cup of olive oil ( I use a light extra virgin olive oil)
- 5 eggs at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 8 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon of mahlepi & mastiha
- 1 mandarin & 1 lemon (reserve zest)
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla bean
- Sesame seeds or sliced almonds
- Sugar to bake
- In a large bowl dissolve the yeast with the sugar and water. Mix with a wooden spoon, and set aside. Once the mixture is bubbly and foamy pour into a mixer bowl.
- Attach the dough hook, and pour the oil while the mixer is running. Add the eggs one egg at a time, and then add the rest of the sugar.
- On parchment paper, mix the flour, salt, lemon, mandarin, vanilla, mahlepi, and mastiha. Mix to combine.
- While the mixer is running add the flour in 3 increments. This is a ton of flour, so I recommend using a large mixing aid, otherwise, mix by hand in a large bowl. If mixing by mixing aid, knead for about 4 minutes at medium speed.
- If mixing by hand, once the dough forms, turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead by hand. Knead until the dough is smooth. Place dough into a large bowl, lightly greased with olive oil.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap and then cover with the towel. I place the bowl usually outside in a warm place, and I let it rise until tripled in bulk. Usually, it takes about 1 1/2 hours for me.
- Punch down dough and let it rise again until doubled in bulk.
- Form the dough into desired braids and then let rest for 30 minutes or so covered. (See shapes below)
- Egg wash the dough before you place it into the oven, and then top it with sesame seeds or sliced almonds. Sprinkle with sugar, and then bake in the middle rack for about 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. You don’t want to overtake because this results in a dry tsoureki.
- Once you remove the bread from the oven, let it cool on a wired rack, and then serve.
- You can freeze this dough, and make sure you cover it tightly with plastic wrap.
If you want to try different tsoureki try this one that is stuffed with cardamom and Nutella. Recipe HERE.
If you want to try tsoureki with butter check out the recipe Here.
I have a mix of two recipes. Here is the first traditional one and the second is my infused Greek coffee cookies which were a huge hit the past few years.
Let’s move on to the savory recipes!
How about some awesome appetizers for your Easter table?
Spanakopita muffin cups are the perfect appetizer. You take your favorite spanakopita mix and add that to the phyllo sheets to create these delicious appetizers.
How about a tasty spicy feta dip? This dip goes well with anything and everything. Pair it with vegetables, crackers, or pita chips.
Mango pomegranate green salad by Sophie from Foodzesty blog. This salad is so refreshing and easy to make. Be sure to follow Foodzesty blog here.
Athina’s halva dessert is the perfect sweet for your Easter table. Enjoy this delicious recipe here. Don’t forget to subscribe to Kicking Back The Pebbles blog.
Happy Easter to you all! Wishing you a safe and beautiful orthodox Easter.