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Melomakarona - Greek Christmas cake at Zampetas

  • Written by Portal Editor
Melomakarona - Greek Christmas cake at Zampetas

After quite relaxed return passing Vienna and Belgrade we had reached Thessalonica in the evening, where Toni and Alexander, owners of the camper stop Zampetas, already longingly expected us.

We had received a special order from their mother, to bring 10 packs of wax Christmas candles in red and white, a wish we have met very much. Understandably, the excitement had grown, because Christmas will approach in quick steps. So there was a hearty welcome with coffee and "Melomakarona" cakes, a Christmas biscuit also unknown to us so far.

Melomakarona, also called Honignudeln (Honey Pastry), are among the most popular Christmas cakes in Greece. Especially during the pre-Christmas period the Greek pastry shops are lavishly decorated with Kourabiedes and the Melomakarona. After baking, the honey tins are soaked in a honey-sugar syrup and sprinkled with chopped walnuts. Typical for Melomakarona is, besides the honey - for example a good Greek thyme honey - cinnamon, cloves and freshly squeezed orange juice. Even better are the homemade Melomakarona, as in this case from Toni and Alexander's mother.

As is well known in Turkey, a simple rule is used in the manufacture of pastries, which are soaked in syrup (Siropiasta). Either the pastry is cold and the syrup is hot, or the syrup is already cooled, and the Melomakarona is still hot when put into the syrup. The syrup should therefore be stirred before baking and allowed to cool down well.
Toni and Alexander's mother still puts a piece of lemon peel into the syrup and rather uses less sugar. For about 40 pieces Melomakarona you will need:

For the syrup
• 250 ml of water
• 200 g of sugar
• 100 g of honey
• Peel of an organic orange
• Half an organic lemon
• 1 cinnamon stick
For strewing
• 50 g walnuts
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• a knife tip of carnation powder
For the dough
• Grated peel of an organic orange
• 120 ml freshly squeezed orange juice (from 2 large oranges)
• 175 ml of olive oil (or a neutral vegetable oil)
• 30 g of melted butter
• 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
• 1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon
• half a teaspoon of carnation powder
• 30 g of powdered sugar
• 650 g flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• half a teaspoon of soda

First boil the syrup: Boil the water with the sugar of the orange and lemon peel and the cinnamon stick and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the honey. Allow the syrup to cool.

For the nut mixture: Chop the walnuts in the chopper and mix with cinnamon and carnation powder.

For the dough first stir the olive oil, the orange juice, the orange peel, the butter, the cinnamon, the carnation powder, the powdered sugar and the vanilla sugar. Mix the flour with the baking soda and the baking powder. Bring the flour over the orange juice-oil mixture and fairly quickly knead a kind of shortbread. Do not knead too long, otherwise the oil will separate from the mixture.

Now oval cookies about 4 cm long should be shaped. Place them on a baking tray covered with baking paper. Bake the Melomakarona at 180 ° C for about 25-30 minutes. They come relatively hard and crispy from the oven.

The Honignudeln (Honey Pastry) should be placed in the cold syrup. If you prefer it less soaked, the Melomakarona should rather just dive into the syrup. This is the personal taste. Place the impregnated Melomakarona on a plate and sprinkle with the nut mixture.

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