Christmas is nearly here and in Greece melomakarona and kourabiedes are the most popular among the sweets. It’s impossible for us to image Christmas without them. In a few days the platters will be full of them and the bakeries and confectioneries will have «white mountains» of kourabiedes, for those who do not have the time to prepare their own.
The recipe is usually made with ewes” butter but in Cyprus we often add spry shortening, well known in Cyprus but unknown in Greece. I cannot find spry in Greece, so I have adapted the recipe making it with sheep’s milk butter.
In October when I visited Cyprus during my last minute shopping I remembered to buy some spry but unfortunately I was unlucky because the supermarket was out of stock.
I tried to find information about spry in the internet and the only thing I found is this.
This year I made two kinds of kourabiedes. The first one is the traditional one and the other is with dates, almonds and spices. If you want to try both, just keep half the dough without the almonds and follow the steps given at the end.
Kourabiedes, filled with Dates and Almonds, Cypriot Recipe
- 1 tin of spry or ½ kilo milk sheep’s butter
- 2 tablespoons of orange juice
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1/2 cup of brandy
- 1 cup of confectioners” sugar
- 7 – 8 cups of all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons of baking power
- 2 cups of blanched and roasted almonds, cut in small pieces
- 1 teaspoon of soda
- Extra confectioners” sugar for coating
- Blossom or rose water
Beat the butter with sugar at high speed. Reduce speed and add egg yolks one at a time, until mixture is light and fluffy.
Dissolve soda with brandy and orange juice and add to mixture. Beat for 2 – 3 minutes. Add vanilla.
Mix flour with baking powder. Change the mixer paddle to the one for dough or start kneading by hand and add flour gradually. When the dough is ready, it should be as if it needs more flour but should not be sticky on your hands. Add the almonds and mix.
Take a small amount of dough and shape them round, oval or crescent shaped. Place in a buttered tin or lined with parchment paper and bake in a preheated oven to 180 degrees C for about 30 minutes. Allow them to cool on a wire rack.
As soon as they are ready, spray or sprinkle some rose water on them and then sieve the confectioners” sugar on both sides and place in parchment paper and let them cool. Then transfer into a platter, sprinkling some extra sugar on top.
Make one dosage of traditional kourapiedes dough (without adding the almonds in the dough).
Ingredients for filling:
- ½ kilo of dates, stoned and finely chopped
- 1- 1 ½ cups of almonds finely chopped and roasted
- 4 – 5 tablespoons of sugar
- ¼ tablespoon of ground cloves
- ½ tablespoon of cinnamon
- 3 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons of rose water
Place butter dates, almonds, sugar, cinnamon and cloves in a small pan and put over moderate heat until butter melts. Lower heat and continue stirring until the mixture softens and mixes. Add rose water and stir two or three times. Place mixture in bowl and let it cool down. Meantime prepare the dough as given for the traditional kourabiedes. Take a small amount of dough and flatten it with your hands. Place a small amount of filling and fold to cover filling. Shape as you like and proceed with procedure given in the other recipe.