Tsourekia is a brioche type of sweet bread which is braided and is part of our Easter and Christmas traditions.
These are the tsourekia I made last year. I made them with chestnut filling and glazed them with chocolate.
The chestnut filling is optional but it’s an addition that surely adds to the wonderful taste. If you don’t have chestnut puree you can add marmalade, as I did a few years ago. This year, I have a lot of mixed citrus marmalade which I intend to use. The chocolate glaze is also optional but if you love chocolate you should add it.
Tsourekia with Chestnut filling, recipe by Ivy
Preparation time: 1 hour
Baking time: 30 – 40 minutes
(about 1 extra hour for the dough to rise)
Makes: 4 large tsourekia
For the yeast
63 grams (11/2 packages) fresh yeast
½ teaspoon of sugar (for the yeast) + extra for sprinkling on top
1/2 cup of lukewarm milk
2 tablespoons flour (out of the whole flour used)
For the dough
1.400 grams of strong bread flour or all purpose flour
1 teaspoon anise seeds boiled in 1 cup of water
220 grams sugar (or 1 cup)
220 grams sheep and goat butter (or 1 cup)
½ teaspoon of ground mahleb
½ teaspoon of ground mastic resin
Lemon zest from 1 lemon
½ teaspoon of salt
For the filling
250 grams chestnuts (after being boiled and peeled)
1 cup sugar
1 ½ cups milk
A few drops of vanilla essence
1 egg yolk mixed with a spoonful of milk for glazing
½ cup blanched and cut almonds
For the chocolate glazing
200 grams white chocolate
50 grams dark chocolate
75 ml heavy cream
1 teaspoon butter
In a small bowl dissolve the yeast with milk and add a couple spoonfuls of flour together with the sugar and mix with. Cover and leave to rise (about fifteen minutes).
Put the chestnuts in a small saucepan together with the milk, vanilla and sugar. Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes, mixing every now and then. Remove from the heat and set aside until it cools. Then in a food processor puree the chestnuts adding some of the milk to make a thick (but not watery) paste.
Until this is ready, boil the water with the anise seeds and drain keeping the water. Grate the lemon, pound the mastic gum and the mahleb and blanche and cut the almonds into thin slices.
In the mixer beat the butter and sugar until white and fluffy. Change the paddle and attach the hook on your mixer. Add the flour, reserving about1/2 cup, the yeast mixture and add the eggs, the salt, the mastic and mahleb and lemon rind, adding the lukewarm anise water. The dough is ready when it does not stick on the bowl or your hands. Add the remaining flour, if necessary. Cover the dough with a napkin and leave it for about an hour to rise and double in volume.
Knead again a couple of times and divide the dough in four equal parts. Each part divide again into three parts. Roll out each piece into rectangular sheets about 12 x 9 cm (5 x 3 inches ) and add the chestnut puree on one side and then make a roll and with your hands try to make each roll a little bit longer. When all three are ready stick the ends together and form into a braid.
Line a baking tin with parchment paper and place each braid in it but not too close to each other. Cover with cling film and then cover with a napkin and it must rest to rise for about an hour, in which time it will rise again.
Brush with the egg-milk mixture on top and sprinkle some sugar and some blanched almonds.
Preheat oven at 180 C / 350 F and bake for about 30 – 40 minutes until a nice brown colour is achieved.
When tsourekia have cooled, melt the white chocolate in a double boiler. Add butter and cream and mix.
Place tsoureki on a wire rack with parchment paper below and pour chocolate on top of each tsoureki. In the same bowl add the dark chocolate with just a little butter and cream.
When it melts using a spoon decorate tsourekia making patterns on top.
Update: Tsourekia Easter 2013
I used the same recipe as above. Before adding all the flour I removed half the amount of the dough. After finishing with the white one, I sifted 30 grams cocoa powder and mixed it with less than ¼ cup of tepid milk. I added it to the dough and added more flour.
I rolled out white and chocolate dough and put it on top of each other in four layers. I cut it into stripes and braided it.
You can find many more Greek recipes in my cookbook “More Than A Greek Salad”, available on all Amazon stores.
Wishing you all a Happy Easter,