Ι wish to thank you all for your lovely messages, either private, here or at facebook. Although I still need some time to grieve, and it will take some time until I feel like blogging again, I am writing this post for my orthodox readers who may want to make this sweet bread (or cake), in memory of my late brother.
In the meantime there are also some happy moments in our life as well. Yesterday, we learned that my daughter has passed at Panteios University of Economics and Political Sciences, in Athens, Department of Sociology. Also, my son who has finished his first semestre of his Master Degree, came first in his class and won a scolarship.
“On August 27th, according to the Greek Synaxarion, we commemorate the Holy Martyr Phanourios. He appeared to people on the island of Rhodes in 1500. Several people had a vision of the saint and then his icon was discovered. The icon depicted a young soldier holding a sword in one hand and a lit candle in the other.
There is a tradition concerning him and his mother, who was a harlot and great sinner. His love for his mother caused him to pray for her incessantly. At the time of his martyric death by stoning, he could not even then forget his mother, and with the boldness that is peculiar to athletes of Christ, prayed: «For the sake of these my sufferings, Lord, help all those who will pray to Thee for the salvation of Phanourios” sinful mother».
Many to this day pray for his mother, and have her listed in their personal diptychs used for commemorations in the Divine Liturgy as «The Mother of St Phanourios» since her name is not known.
On the day of the Saint, there is a tradition that the faithful bake a special bread, and according to some accounts, give it to the poor as alms in the name of his mother, and others, share it with at least seven other people.
St Phanourios” name gives a hint about another tradition concerning the Saint. «Phanourios» comes from the Greek word, «phanerono», meaning «I reveal». He is known to help people find lost things.
St Phanourios” church in Pangrati, is a very small church belonging to the Holy Land and the blessing takes place in the back yard. This year there were more than 200 cakes and breads spread on three big tables.
Fanouropita with tahini, Recipe by Ivy
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Baking time: about 35 minutes
375 grams self raising flour
100 grams muscovado sugar
65 grams olive oil
125 grams tahini with honey
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup brandy
30 grams raisins
150 grams crushed walnuts
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves, powdered
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
A pinch of salt
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Beat olive oil, tahini and sugar in the mixer.
Meantime mix flour with baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cloves. In another bowl mix walnuts, raisins and orange zest with a few tablespoons of above flour mixture.
Mix orange juice, brandy, vinegar and baking soda together and mix it with all the other ingredients in the mixer. Add the flour, mix remove from the mixer and add the walnuts and raisins.
Preheat oven at 180o C / 350o F.
Grease a pan with olive oil and spread on it a little sugar and flour or line with parchment paper.
Pour the mixture into the pan. Bake for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
(Note: The cake has risen considerably but it looks flat as I should have used a baking tin about 20 cm. I do not have one and used a 28 cm baking tin).
After the lost item is found, one should bake a Fanouropita or Phanouropita, (basically a loaf of sweet bread) or a cake in memory of St. Phanourios” mother, and give to the poor, as above on the eve of Saint Fanourios name day, 26th of August or on the 27th in the morning or at the vesper. The cake is brought to any church, preferably of Saint Phanourios, where the priest blesses it with a nice ceremony. After the Mass, the cakes are cut and shared with the people. (Have a knife and napkins with you). Those receiving the cake must ask for his mother’s sins to be forgiven (the name of his mother is not known) .
A few months back my son lost something which at the time seemed impossible to be found. After making all possible efforts to recover it, without success, I told him that on the eve of St. Fanourios I would make a cake if what he was looking for was recovered. A few days later it was miraculously recovered.
The cake must be vegan and contain any of the ingredients listed below provided that the number is odd: 5, 7, 9, 11 etc. The basic ingredients are flour, sugar, olive oil, cinnamon, raisins, walnuts and then any other ingredients may also be added.
In Cyprus the tradition says that the cake after being blessed in church must be given to 7 women who were married only once and are not divorced.