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DESSERTS


Browse through the recipes
                     OR
check the index:       Vasilopita recipe
                          Cheescake...my way
                          Oreo-Chocolate-Strawberry ice-cream cake
                          Kouriabethes-Greek Christmas Cookies
                          Melomakarona-Greek Christmas Cookies



MY CHEESECAKE RECIPE

LIGHT AND COOL FOR SUMMER
NO BAKING NEEDED
EASY AND QUICK

Ingredients
    • 12 graham crackers, crushed (appr.)
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts (or pecans if you prefer)
    • 100 gr. butter melted
    • 500 gr. of cream cheese - 4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
    • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
    • 1/2 cup buttermilk (start with 1/3 cup)
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
    • strawberry (blackcurrant goes excellently) jam or canned strawberry preserves
    • 1 or 2 tablespoons of corn starch
    • 1 envelope of strawberry, or raspberry or any berry flavored jello

Directions

  1. Dissolve the jello in 1/3 (or less) of the instructed hot water and let it cool.
  2. In a bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs and finely chopped hazelnuts with melted butter until evenly moistened. Press crumb mixture into the bottom of pan. Put it in the fridge while we prepare the filling.
  3. In another bowl, mix/beat the cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Blend in the buttermilk, the vanilla extract, the lemon zest and then slowly pour in the jello while still mixing to incorporate and until smooth. Pour filling into prepared crust and refrigerate again for a few hours or until the filling is firm.
  4. Meanwhile simmer in a small pan the jam (or even better the canned fruit) adding a tbs of corn starch diluted in cold water. Stir continuously until sauce thickens. Let it cool.
  5. Pour the sauce over the filling only when the filling is firm and cold and the sauce has cooled as well. Chill in refrigerator until serving.

Extra tips
  • You can add fresh thinly sliced fruit on top (f.e. strawberries)
  • Don't forget to stir the jello often so that it doesn't become firm before you pour it in the mixture.
  • Try not to put too much butter in the crumb mixture or it will become very hard to cut.
  • Don't forget corn starch dissolves in cold water!
  • You could also try lemon flavored jello! Along with the blackcurrants you get this awesome sweet and sour taste! Try it!
  • You could also bake the crumb mixture for 10-15 minutes for extra baked taste.
  • I'm not very fond of gelatin but you could use it if you're having "firmness" problems. Just don't forget the trick is to add it to cold liquid, leave it to soak until spongy and then stand the bowl in a frying pan of simmering water until the gelatin becomes clear.
However you do it, I hope it turns out tasty and WOW!
It sure is our family's favorite summer dessert!

BON APPETIT,
KALE OREXE!!!!



VASILOPITA (ST. BASIL'S PIE)




VASILOPITA RECIPE

Ingredients:
1/2 cup milk (room temperature)
1 cup butter softened
2 cups sugar
500 gr (appr. 6 cups) all- purpose flour
4-5 tsp baking powder
5 eggs
orange juice from 2 oranges (appr. 1/2 glass)
2 tsps vanilla extract
1 finely chopped apple
1/2 cup Cognac (Metaxa) or Brandy
1 1/2 tbs orange zest
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cinnamon stick

Directions:

Marinate from the night before in a bowl the cognac, the orange zest, the orange juice, the walnuts, the apple and 1 cinnamon stick.

The next day, in a large bowl blend (beat) the sugar with butter until it becomes fluffy white. Then add the eggs one by one. Add slowly the marinated mixture (after removing the cinnamon stick) and the flour sifted together with the baking powder, the vanilla extract and gradually the milk. Beat for another 2-3 minutes. Pour the batter into a greased and flour sprinkled round pan. Bake in pre-heated oven (325 degrees F or 165 degrees C) for about 70 minutes or until done. After it's baked place the coin (that you have previously wrapped in foil) anywhere you choose in a vertical position and a litle deep. Then flip the pie/cake upside down on a platter (do that with the help of the platter) and after it has cooled down sprinkle it with powdered sugar. Your vasilopita is ready!

P.S. Placing the coin in the batter before it's baked will result in the coin sinking to the bottom (wich will be later the top) and showing!






                  Totally awesome ice cream cake!



I made this cake for my daughter's birthday party and it was a hit! So pretty and easy and makes an excellent summer birthday cake!
You have to try it! So delicious! I found the recipe at:








What You Need:
  • 24 OREO Cookies, divided
  • 2 cups strawberry ice cream, softened
  • 2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, divided
  • 2 cups chocolate ice cream, softened
  • 2 Tbsp. hot fudge ice cream topping

How to make it:

LINE 9-inch round pan with plastic wrap, with ends extending over side of pan. Stand 14 cookies around edge of pan. Crush remaining cookies. Reserve 1/2 cup crumbs for later use; sprinkle remaining crumbs onto bottom of pan. Spread strawberry ice cream over crumbs; top with 1 cup COOL WHIP and reserved crumbs. Cover with chocolate ice cream.

FREEZE 4 hours.

REMOVE dessert from freezer 10 min. before serving. Use plastic wrap handles to lift dessert from pan. Carefully peel off plastic wrap; place dessert on serving plate. Let stand at room temperature to soften slightly. Top with remaining COOL WHIP; drizzle with fudge topping.
    







KOURIABETHES (GREEK CHRISTMAS COOKIES)

      Kourabiethes (also kourambiedes) are sugared shortbread cookies made with toasted almonds. (There's also a version with walnuts or hazelnuts). In Greek: koo-rahb-YEH-thes. They have simple ingredients and are simple to make!
      The key to good Kourabiethes is the use of butter, and lots of it! Mind you, it has to be good quality full butter!



Recipe for Kourabiethes
(recipe is for 2 baking trays, aprox. 80 cookies)


1 lb. unsalted pure butter at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar (confectioner's, icing)

2 egg yolks
3/4 cup olive oil (or vegetable oil)
 
2 cups of roasted almonds, coarsely chopped

1 shot of cognac or brandy

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 heaping Tbsp. of baking powder

5 cups of of all purpose flour
, sifted

For topping:
1/2 cup Rosewater
Extra icing sugar for powdering (about 2 cups)

 

  1. In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar. Then add the oil. Add the egg yolks and beat for 10 minutes longer.
  2. Add some of the flour (add 1-2 cups at a time and keep some to add later). Poor your brandy (cognac) to a large glass and then add your baking powder and stir it until dissolved. Now pour this mixture, along with the vanilla extract and the nuts and continue beating until blendid in and the dough is a cohesive soft mass.
  3. Start kneading with your hands the mixture and s-l-o-w-l-y add the flour to the mixture until all the flour has been absorbed.
  4. Set the dough aside to rest for about 30 minutes.
  5. Using your hand, grab a piece of dough the size of a walnut and form them into the shape of choice - crescents or patties (you could also use a cookie cutter). Place each formed cookie on a baking tray lined with parchment paper (or greased cookie sheet). Repeat process until all dough has been shaped into cookies.
  6. Bake in a pre-heated 350F oven (middle rack) for 25 minutes for each batch.
  7. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with rosewater, then roll in the powdered sugar. Dust serving plates or platter with confectioner's sugar and add cookies.
    Now place some more icing sugar in a sifter and generously dust the Kourabiedes with more icing sugar until well-coated.
  8. The cookies can be stored in a sealed container, in a cool, dry place and they’ll keep for at least two weeks






MELOMAKARONA



I've told you before, that Greeks are very hospitable people and like to have guests at the house who they treat as royals (older generations -like my mom- would be offended if you as a guest would not accept at least one of the thousands of treats she will offer!) They like to have an array of sweets, cookies, appetizers out for offering to the guests so one can just imagine the amount and variety of treats Greeks have during Christmas.



Two mouthwatering cookies/sweets are the stars of the Christmas holidays Kourabiethes and Melomakarona - and I've already given you the recipe for the Kouriabethes. Now, as promised, I have to give you the recipe for the Melomakarona! (I always keep my promises!) Couldn't make it during the holidays' posts but if you want to try it you still can any time of the year - they'll still be a fantastic treat.
I have to warn you they are a bit troublesome but believe me well worth it! Just imagine the following flavors in your mouth all at once …orange, walnut, honey, clove, cinnamon…. Yum!
The Melomakarona are the most loved Christmas cookies. They are spiced cookies, fragrant from cinnamon, clove and orange zest. The cookies are then dunked in a syrup and topped with walnut crumbs.

INGREDIENTS

For the dough

-2 cups olive oil
-1 cup sugar
-1 cup orange juice
-8 cups of pastry flour (or 7 cups of flour plus 1 cup of fine
semolina flour)
-1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
-Zest of one orange
-One 2 inch lemon rind
-pinch of salt
-1 tsp ground cinnamon
-2 tsp baking powder
-1/4 cup brandy (Metaxa)
-1/2 tsp ground clove

For the syrup

-2 cups honey
-2 cups sugar
-2 cups water
-1 cinnamon stick
-3 whole cloves
-1 tsp lemon juice
-1 strip lemon peel
-3/4 cup walnuts ground coarsely


Pre-heat the oven at 350F (180-200 Celsius)
  1. You should make your syrup first. To a pot add your sugar, water, honey, lemon peel, cinnamon stick lemon juice and cloves and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes and then remove from the heat and allow to cool (Tip: the success of the recipe lies on the factor: "cool syrup and hot cookies" or vice versa).
  2. Into a large bowl, add the sugar and oil and blend with your hand mixer for 5 minutes and then add your orange zest, cinnamon and clove and mix in as well. Dissolve your baking soda in the orange juice (be careful it overflows!) and along with the brandy pour into the bowl.
  3. Now add the salt and baking powder in the flour and semolina flour and add into the bowl one cup at a time while mixing with your hands and kneading in with your hands until you’ve achieved a soft, pliable dough that’s not sticky. Allow the dough to rest covered for 30 minutes.
  4. Using your hands, roll the dough into small balls (about the size of ping pong balls), then form them into oval shaped shaped cookies.
  5. Place your cookies on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake in a pre-heated oven (middle rack) for 30 minutes until pastries are firm and golden brown. (Make sure the oven is hot before baking, otherwise the pastries will flatten).
  6. Using a large slotted spoon , drop the hot cookies into the cool syrup for no more than 3 minutes to absorb the syrup then flip for 1 minute on the other side. Reserve on a cooling rack and repeat until all the cookies are dunked in syrup. (OR let them cool down and heat the syrup and continue with the procedure. Remember: one of the two has to be cool while the other hot!)
  7. Sprinkle with crushed walnuts. Allow to cool. (Do not refrigerate!)
  8. Store in a cool, dry (air-tight) container for almost up to a month.



Καλή όρεξη!

Bon Appetit!

Watch this interesting video for more instructions!




For all the chocoholics out there! ... there are also chocolate covered Melomakarona as well!

Sinfully delicious!!!



















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