A long time ago one of the most “serious” ( I don’t think he would like the title) contemporary Greek writers wrote a hilarious novel tearing to pieces a large number of “sacred cows”. When asked how come he wrote something like this he answered that he felt “Greek society needed a spoonful of sugar” at that particular moment.
I do not pretend to know what Greek society needs but I find myself thinking of sweets, traditional Greek Christmas sweets, more and more every day. Mr Papadimos asks for more money I go for a kourabie, the electricity company demands that we pay the estate tax (!) through our bill and I go for two and so on.
So, first post of the year let us go for something sweet, uniquely Greek (if I am wrong someone set me right), extremely tasty with very few calories…
“Melomakarona means “honeyed makarona”. At first I thought that its name came from “honey =meli” and “makarona= macaroons”. After some research I found the following explanation in a blog ((http://blogs.sch.gr/tsilivar/): the “honey coated sweet” has taken the second part of its name from the ancient Greek word “makaronia” which refers to a small baked bread distributed at funerals!! This practice comes to reinforce my previous arguments for the necessity of sweets in difficult times.. The word “makaritis” is still used in Modern Greek and means the “deceased”.
The recipe is simple and the ingredients very common:
For a family serving use:
- 2 cups of oil ( I used olive oil the first time I made them but it has a very strong taste. You can mix 1 cup of olive oil and any other oil you normally use)
- ¾ of a cup orange juice ( freshly squeezed is recommended)
- ¼ of a cup brandy or cognac (whichever you can afford..)
- The zest of three oranges
- Two teaspoonfuls of baking powder
- One teaspoonful of baking soda
- Cinnamon and cloves according to taste – the aroma is very Christmassy
- Eight cups of flour
Mix the liquid ingredients with the sugar, add the flour, baking powder and soda gradually until your mixture is soft but does not stick to your fingers.
Give your melomakarona any shape you like and bake in a preheated oven until they look golden but are still soft.
Prepare your syrup while the sweets are baking. When they are ready let them stand for a while until they are in room temperature and then plunge them in the syrup pot which must not be boiling either. Let them stay in the syrup for a couple of minutes. When a toothpick can go through them easily remove from the pot and sprinkle with grounded walnuts.
I make them the year round due to their low cholesterol level as well.
In youtube there are very detailed videos about their cooking.
Happy New Year and lots of sweet things in your life