In anticipation of the incoming winter holidays, I wanna share with you a recipe for Vasilopita - famous Balkan New Year's cake, mostly prepared in Greece. Vasilopita means "Saint Vasilij's cake (St.Basil)." Vasilopita is baked with a coin inside, so it is believed that the one who gets the coin will have luck in that year. Cutting the cake is very important and brings fun at home and in the workplace of various companies. Receiving the coin is accompanied with a gift, usually a small amulet for happiness. Most families in Macedonia prepare maznik with coin on St.Vasilij's day, which we celebrate on 14th of January (old calendar), but many families prepare the Vasilopita for the New Year's day.
- 375 g butter left at room temperature
- 750 g sifted self-rising flour
- 6 eggs
- 3 cups of sugar
- 200 ml yogurt
- a pinch of salt
- zest of 2 oranges
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 150 g ground walnuts
- 2 sachets vanilla sugar
- powdered sugar for topping
- Divide the eggs into yolks and whites. Mix the egg whites with a pinch of salt in a bowl with an electric mixer. Whisk until the mixture is very thick and shiny. Place the bowl aside.
- In another bowl, whisk the butter and sugar for about 20 minutes, until the butter is creamy like whipped cream. Slowly add the egg yolks one by one.
- Pour in the orange juice, the vanilla sugar, the orange zest, the yogurt and mix to combine. Add 1/3 of the sifted flour and blend, using a wooden spoon or spatula. Add 1/3 of the egg whites and lightly mix. Repeat with the rest of the flour and egg whites. Add the walnuts in the end.
- Pour this mixture in a round baking pan (app. 32 cm diameter) previously coated with butter.
- Put to bake in a preheated oven at 200 C degrees, then lower the heat to 175 C and leave to bake for about 1 hour, until the pie is well baked. Check of the pie is ready with a toothpick. It's important to notice that you mustn't open the oven while vasilopita is baking.
- Let the pie cool down, then insert a coin wrapped in aluminum foil inside the cake.
- Place the vasilooita on a serving plate and sprinkle with icing sugar all over.