Every once in a while our parents would take us to a local Greek bakery to help select a dessert to bring to a dinner party or gathering. Usually they would make and bring along their own galaktoboureko, baklava or melomakarona, but occasionally our parents would be too busy (because they were also bringing along some homemade spanakopita or keftedes) to do so. We would walk into the bakery with them and be overwhelmed with the sights and smells of all the delicious Greek desserts, breads and snacks. Our parents would typically ask us to choose a variety of small, individual serving size cakes (glyka or γλυκά), often 8 – 12 in a box. This was so exciting…shopping for sweets! We were sure to select vanilla cakes, kok, cream-filled pastries, chocolate mousses and anything else that made our box of cakes a sight to behold. The only thing better than selecting the pastries was receiving these boxes of glyka when we had company over. Well before dessert was served, all the kids would sneak into the kitchen, snip the ribbon which tied the box closed, lift the lid with great anticipation, excited to see what joy lay within the box, and then quickly call dibs on the particular piece of dessert that we wanted.
Can you ever have too much of a good thing? We don’t think so. Tsoureki is one of those very good things, and like us, you may find yourself having an abundance of it at this time of year. Although we spent several hours baking loads of loaves which we then offered to family and friends, many of these family and friends presented us with their tsourekia. We broke even! How wonderful!
There are so many ways to enjoy tsoureki. We love to have a plain slice of tsoureki in the morning along with our Greek coffee. We also often enjoy a slice with a warm cup of mountain tea in the evening. It is something that we pick at when trying to decide what to make for supper, something we pack up for school snacks, and something we often turn to when we’re hungry…but not really. And then, often on the weekends which easily lend themselves to decadent breakfasts, we like to start our day with tsoureki French toast.
Growing up there were very few things that only one of our parents would make; generally they worked together to prepare their delicious meals and desserts. But some things…some things belonged to only one of them, and fried eggs belonged to our father.
On weekend mornings our father would often greet us with a fried egg or two. Αυγά μάτια (which literally translates into eggs eyes – bizarre!) are a variation of sunny-side up eggs made more delicious because they are fried in olive oil. This cooking technique results in an outer edge of crispy egg white and a yolk which is cooked just perfectly. Sprinkled with just a touch of salt and pepper, they are a simply beautiful way to start the day.