Vasilopita is a New Year’s Day bread or cake which contains a hidden coin which gives good luck to the receiver. On New Year’s Day families cut the vasilopita to bless the house and bring good luck for the new year. This is usually done at the midnight of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. A coin is hidden in the bread by slipping it into the dough before baking. At midnight the sign of the cross is etched with a knife across the cake. A piece of cake is sliced for each member of the family and any visitors present at the time.
Makes 3 lucky coin pies- vasilopites
TOTAL TIME: 20 minutes
Active time: 3,5 hours
For the prozymi
3/4 cup warm water
3 teaspoons yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
4 Tablespoons flour
For the tsoureki
1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups orange juice
1/2 teaspoon ground mastic
2 teaspoons ground mahleb
1/2 teaspoon salt
4-5 cups flour
Fondant for decoration
1. To prepare the prozymi , add in a bowl all the ingredients and stir. Wrap well with plastic wrap and set aside for about 15- 20 minutes, until the yeast rises and starts bubbling.
2. In the mixer’s bowl add all the ingredients of the tsoureki and the prozymi mixture and mix until the dough doesn’t stick on the sides of the bowl.
3. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and a towel and leave it in a warm place, until at least it doubles its size -for about 1.5-2 hours.
4. Divide the dough into 3 pieces and form three balls.
5. Transfer the ball on a springform pan layered with parchment paper. Repeat the same procedure with the other two balls.
6. Preheat the oven to 380 F.
7. Let the tsoureki rise for about 40 minutes at room temperature, until it almost doubles its size. Insert a clean silver coin into each vasilopita.
8. Sprinkle some water and bake for 30-40 minutes, until nicely browned and fluffy.
9. Let them cool and decorate with fondant.