Greek Easter Bread a.k.a Tsourekia

Food is unification of the family, that’s what my mom taught me. Easter at my house was an blend of beautiful aromas and family unification ! My mom began cooking in the middle of the week and finished at the end of the week just  a few hours before going to church. Nostalgic of her cooking and her presence,  I try to create my own moments with my own family using her recipes.   This recipe takes me back to a time of fun, a worry free life and a time where things were quit different. My mom’s holiday cooking would put a smile on all our faces. She was a very mommy type. She made everything seem effortless, whether she was tired or not she was had a smile when she cooked.   In return I want to give my children these moments that I still long for.No matter how old you are or how good you cook, mom’s cooking is always better. This Greek Easter bread resembles the Jewish Challah. It goes great with coffee, you can spread on it butter, honey, jam or just eat it plain,that’s how I like it.This is how coffee table looks when I wake up Easter Sunday !

My coffee table on Easter Sunday !

My coffee table on Easter Sunday !

The ingredients for the Easter Bread ( Tsourekia )

5 pounds of all purpose flour ( always buy a little extra)

10 whole eggs

3 cups sugar

1 cup mazola corn oil ( any corn oil will do)

1 stick sweet butter

5 yeast envelopes ( for the leaven)

3 glasses of milk

Red dyed eggs ( if you want to )

1/2 teaspoon Mahlepi ( a Greek unusual spice with an Arabic name) *

1/2 teaspoon of Mastiha ( Gum resin from the Mastic tree) *

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla powder ( I prefer vanilla powder, it’s stronger)


Leaven, this must be made overnight.

Heat one glass of milk till warm, add in a big pot then add your 5 envelopes of yeast. Dissolve yeast very well then slowly add your flour, add just enough to make it tight, set aside till next day.

The next day it should have tiny air bubbles.

This is how it should look.

This is how it should look.

The next day in a different pot:

Mix 8 eggs and 2 glasses of warm milk and then slowly all other ingredients, add your butter last.  Beat for at least 15 minutes.  Make sure your mahlepi and Mastiha are cracked I usually place it in a towel and crack them with a hammer.

* Mahlepi – can be found in Middle Eastern shops

Cracked Mahlepi

I crack the mahlepi and mastiha in the package

Once you are done you add your leaven to your mix.

Your mix before adding your leaven

Your mix before adding your leaven

Leaven into bread mixture.

Adding the leaven into bread mixture.

Once you add the leaven, slowly add the flour, when you add enough flour and the dough starts forming you begin kneading, rub your hands with corn oil this makes the kneading  a lot easier. If you do not use corn oil it will become a difficult task.  You must knead it for about 15 minutes, if you have a bread machine go ahead and use it. I like doing it the traditional way. I make the dough in the as soon as I wake up in the morning. When you are done kneading leave it in the pot and allow it to rise usually about 2 -3 hours. Every time it overlapped in the pot I just kneaded it over and over. Makes the bread fluffier.

The dough is ready and pliable !

The dough is ready and pliable ! See the bunny ears, lol 😉


Start your creations !

Start your creations !

It’s traditional to make the Tsourekia in shapes of braids. We do this to keep all bad spirits away.

Creating the braid.

Creating the braid.

You are almost done.

You are almost done.

Final steps and you're done !

Final steps and you’re done !


Your Tsourekia are done !!

Your Tsourekia are done !!


If you have followed the recipe, you should have about 7 tsourekia. When they are all ready brush them with an egg for color, then you cover them  with aluminum foil and towels and you let them rise for about 2 -3 hours before baking. If they have not risen, they are not ready and yo will get a hard tsoureki. Preheat your oven for at least an hour. Bake them for 25 mins. at 248 or less. To check if they are ready place a skewer in the middle if it comes out clean they are ready!! Let them cool and eat !!

Love them !!

Love them !!

With her own little hands !

With her own little hands !


I hope you all have enjoyed this special recipe !





Baked Pasta with Chopmeat A.K.A Pastichio ( A Greek Dish )

You can’t get more Greek than this,well you can but just as a matter of saying. Waking up on Sunday,  the lingering scent of this beautiful dish just tickled our noses and instead of toast, we would say, is it ready ??? My mom being Greek, would always get up before anyone and prepare this beautiful dish, even if we went out to lunch she would still cook  therefore when we would come back from our outing we would have something to eat. She was just being Greek. Pastichio was not only a Sunday dish, it was a holiday dish, Christmas time, Birthdays, namedays, barbecues etc. Any  holiday would be accompanied by Pastichio. I learned to make it just like my mom and now I’m serving it from my table to yours. It takes about 3 hours to make but you will have it for two days, if it’s possible .

Let’s start wit the ingredients:

Red Sauce

2 pounds chopmeat

1 medium onion or three small ones

1 medium tomato

2 cloves of garlic

1 whole nutmeg or  1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

4 whole cloves or 1/3 teaspoon of ground cloves

1/2  teaspoon of cinnamon

1/3 cup of olive oil

oregano, salt and pepper

2 tablespoons tomato paste


Pasta Pennes or if your have access to a Greek store ask for Special Pastichio Spaghetti I still prefer Penne Pasta

1 egg

2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese

4 tablespoons of  butter


Cream or Pudding what ever wording you prefer

8 cups of milk

1 evaporated small can of milk

1 whole nutmeg or black pepper

2 whole egg

1 stick of sweet butter


Let’s begin with the red sauce:

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Chop up your onions,tomato and garlic cloves. Place them in your skillet add your olive oil, ( if you like olive oil you can add more )  1/2 teaspoon of oregano and a dash of salt and pepper then saute for about 10 min. then add your chopmeat, saute for about 15 minutes or until brown. Cover chopmeat with water let cook for about 1 hour on high. Once it’s ready to thicken add your tomato paste, grind nutmeg, add whole cloves, cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste and a dash of oregano. When it’s ready set aside for later use.

Next we prepare our cream:

Place 8 cold cups of milk in a pot

for each cup we need 2 tablespoons of flour ( all purpose flour)

so 8 cups x 2 tablespoons = 16 tablespoons of flour

1 cup of milk should be the evaporated milk ( tastes a lot better)

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Before placing on stove add flower and stir very well with a whisk

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Once the flour has dissolved completely place on stove on high and keep stirring until it thickens into a cream, if the flour hasn’t dissolved completely before placing on stove it will crumble up into tiny balls and your cream will not come out good. Make sure it has dissolved completely !!!!  When the cream is read add the whole stick of butter and stir, then add a whole beaten egg and stir, then ( usually) I add at the tip of my teaspoon black pepper, if your prefer nutmeg you can grind nutmeg into your cream. Stir very well  and set aside.



Your cream is ready when it can form a somewhat ball shape when placed in a plate I added red sauce so you can see what I mean.

Pasta time

Cook as per package add salt for taste while boiling


I didn’t have Penne Pasta so I used these, they’re very  close

Once they are ready drain and place in a pot.


Add 1/2 stick of regular butter

3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon of butter

1 whole egg and mix all ingredients together.



Now get your pan, make sure you butter your pan very well.

Add your first layer of pasta make sure you’re not able to see the bottom of the pan


Then add your chopmeat sauce, don’t use it all set aside about 4 big salad spoons, this will be our topping when we serve the Pastichio.


Then add your final layer of pasta


Then your final layer, the cream


When your are done, beat 1 egg and spread on top of your Pastichio this gives it color. Bake for 45 minutes  180 celsius or 350 Fahrenheit.


This is how it should look when it’s ready. Before serving set aside for 1/2 hour or else you will not be able to cut proper pieces.

While this is cooling you make your sauce for the topping

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Take your leftover sauce place it in a small pot, add two cups of water,2 tablespoons of tomato paste, 1 tablespoon olive oil, cinnamon,cloves, oregano,salt and pepper to taste. Let it boil until it thickens, when it’s almost ready to thicken simmer it on medium heat. Place in a small bowl, when you are ready to serve your Pastichio. On top of your piece you can add a teaspoon of parmesan cheese. I prefer to grind with my fork Feta Cheese. I just love feta.

Another dish from my table to yours !! And by the way, if you have kids lots of licking and eating before everything goes into the dishwasher and sink !! 😉

One final tip and most important: When baking this dish, add a bigger pan with water, than the one your are baking with, in the oven, underneath the Pastichio, because it will drip therefore this way, the juice swill drip into the pan with water.

Enjoy this Sunday dish !!!!





Baked Feta Cheese

Feta Cheese,being Greek  you know I just love Feta, it’s a must on our table. My favorite feta is, Kefalonia it’s spicy and delicious !!!

You will need

A terra cotta pan ( tastes better) you can use any pan

1 pound of any feta cheese ( crumbled )

1 big tomato pureed in a blender

1 long green pepper

8 tablespoons of olive oil

salt, red hot pepper and oregano to taste

Bake for 1/2 hour at 350  or until feta has melted



Crumble your feta cheese in your pan, add your pureed tomato, your cut up

green pepper ( red will also do) add your oil, less than a pinch of salt, red pepper as much as you like and

finally, add your oregano and bake and serve. This is good to eat with Greek bread ( but any bread will do)

Baked feta cheese

Once again a recipe from my table to yours 🙂