Greek Pascha is the holiday which keeps on giving…leftovers. One of the things that our Easter season seems to leave us with plenty of is tsoureki, and we’re thrilled. It seems that most Greek homes bake a huge number of these sweet loaves during this holiday season, many of which are then are gifted to family and friends. If you are Greek however, you usually end up receiving as many tsourekia as you give away; you end up breaking even! Good problems to have!
Sweet is the day that you decide to devote some time to making tsoureki, the traditional Greek Easter bread which is often served to break the Lenten fast. On Easter Sunday it is offered to family and friends as a way to express friendship and love. Godparents often include a loaf of tsoureki in the Easter gifts they give their godchildren, tucked into the gift bag next to the shoes and the lambada (Easter candle).
Similar to Jewish challah bread, tsoureki is sweet, soft and fluffy. What sets it apart from other, similar, egg- enriched breads however are the flavourings of mastiha and mahlepi. Although these unique ingredients are key, and present in almost all tsourekia recipes, there are numerous variations, with some families adding additional flavours of orange or brandy or other nice things.