Happy New Year! Wishing you all a wonderful 2013, full of happiness, creativity, health and joy!
Let's start this year journey to Greek gastronomy with a tradition - Vasilopita - that is associated with Saint Basil's day, January 1. Vasilopita is a cake which contains a hidden coin. On New Year's Day families cut the Vasilopita at the family meal. A piece of cake is sliced not only for every member of the family but also for each visitor present at the time. Some families also cut slices for the Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary and the household. The coin receiver is supposed to have luck the coming year, sometimes a gift is also given.
250 gr. butter
2 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 cup of orange juice
1/2 kgr. flour for all purposes
1 glass of amaretto liqueur or another liqueur of your choice
1 pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup nuts like walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts (chopped coarsely)
1/2 cup chopped finely dried fruits
For the chocolate icing
250 gr. dark chocolate
100 gr. butter
2 tbsps. honey
First put the dried fruit in the liqueur to soak.
Melt the butter over low heat for a while.
Use the food processor to blend the melted butter with the sugar and the salt until they become fluffy. Separate the eggs.
Add the yolks to the mixture one by one and continue beating the mixture till combined well. Stir in the orange juice.
In another bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Add the flour and the baking powder to the creamy mixture. Combine them well and finally add the liqueur, the fruits and the nuts. Stir.
Whip the egg whites until they are stiff. Fold gradually the whipped eggs to the mixture and stir gently.
Pour the mixture into a greased 30 cm. round cake pan. Wrap a coin in foil. Then place the coin in the Vasilopita. Press the coin down so as to be completely hidden. Smooth the surface using a spatula. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Bake the cake for about 50 minutes, or until done. Cool on a wire rack.
While waiting till our cake cool, prepare the chocolate icing. In a bain marie melt the chocolate, the butter and the honey. Stir. Cover the cake while the glaze is still warm. You can also decorate the cake with sugar paste or other decorations - just use your imagination!
Good luck and Greek Debt to Gastronomy wishes you a year full of sweet moments!