Thursday, January 1, 2015

Recipe: Greek Vasilopita

For New Year's Eve, we put together a Greek-inspired spread. 

We made both lamb and chicken with Greek flavors - including oregano, rosemary, lemon, and garlic. 

There was Spanikopita.

We also had hummus, tzatziki sauce, and a roasted red pepper and herbed feta dip.

There were dolmas (from the store, I did not make these).

The kids (who don't tend to like tomatoes) loved these skewers of feta, cucumber, tomato, topped with a mint leaf.

I also made roasted fingerling potatoes, with olive oil, rosemary, garlic, and lemon.

And to top it all off, I made my take on the traditional Greek New Year's cake, Vasilopita.  We skipped the the traditional coin baked into the cake, but you could include it if you wish.

I modified my recipe from a few I found around the internet, using mostly this one from Girlchef (she posted the recipe yesterday, when I had already decided to make this cake - serendipity!).

I added some pistachios, because I had seen that as a variation, and instead of brandy or cognac, I used some maple liqueur - to put my own Vermont spin on it. 

The Hubby loved this cake so much, he said I can make it for his birthday (in June).  It was citrusy and dense and simply delightful.  Though we are not a smidgeon Greek, we might have to make this a New Year's tradition in our house as well!

Greek Vasilopita
(modified from Girlchef)

3 c all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c evaporated milk (or whole milk)
1/4 c maple liqueur (or brandy)
1 tsp vanilla extract
14 Tbsp butter, softened
1 1/2 c sugar
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp orange zest
4 eggs
1/3 c blanched almonds, ground (or heaping 1/3 c almond meal)
2/3 c pistachio nutmeats
Powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease and flour a 10" springform pan. 

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.  Mix the milk, liqueur, and vanilla in a separate bowl (or glass measuring cup).  In a mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and citrus zests together.  Add the eggs and beat until well combined.

Alternately add the flour mixture and the liquid to the creamed butter and sugar.  Mix until just combined.  Fold in the ground almonds and the pistachios.

Transfer the batter to the prepared spingform pan, flattening the top with a spatula.  Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack and remove from pan.  Allow to cool completely.

When completely cool, dust with confectioner's sugar.  (You can decorate with a stenciled design of confectioner's sugar - I just dusted the whole thing).

Cut into slices - traditionally just after midnight on New Year's, and enjoy!

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