Christmas is a time for giving and sharing. With 26 days to go and preparations for the festive period in full swing, it's time to share my TNT recipe for Greek Christmas Bread. So here goes:
CHRISTOPSOMO (Christmas Bread)
Makes 2 loaves
2 pkts active dry yeast
2 cups milk, warmed
1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
7-1/2 to 8 cups plain flour
1-1/2 tsps ground cardamon or 1 tsp mastic
1/2 cup dried golden currants
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
2 egg whites, beaten
3-4 tbsps sugar
1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast over 1 cup of warm milk. Leave it to froth.
2. If using mastic, reserve 2 tsps sugar for pounding. Put the rest of the sugar into a mixing bowl, add salt, eggs and remaining cup of milk, butter and mix well.
3. In a large bowl, mix 7 cups flour with cardamon or pound mastic that has been mixed with sugar. Make a well and add dissolved yeast, egg mixture, currants and walnuts. Mix well.
4. Knead dough on a floured board, dusting with the remaining cup of flour as necessary. Knead until smooth for about 5-6 minutes. Transfer dough to a greased bowl, cover and let it rise in a warm place until double in volume. Once risen, punch dough down and shape into two round loaves. Place them in two 10-inch buttered pans.
5. Cover and let dough rise again in a warm place until twice in size.
6. Bake in oven at 200 degrees/400 degrees F for 15 minutes. Remove and brush with beaten egg whites and then sprinkle with sugar. Return to oven, reduce temperature to 180 degrees C/350 degrees F and bake for a further 35-40 minutes or until done.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating!