Greek New Year Tradition
Greeks have some of the coolest and most wonderful traditions, many of which my mother taught us to embrace over the years.
A tradition I especially adore is our NEW YEAR DAY family gathering celebrating St. Basil, my namesake. In Greek tradition, he brings gifts to children every January 1 (St Basil’s Day). It is traditional on St Basil’s Day to serve vasilopita, a rich bread baked with a coin inside. It’s also customary in my family to touch iron symbolizing strength for the year and eat something sweet to keep you that way for the year. My daughter Kathryn and I decided to attempt baking a VASILOPITA instead of buying one this year.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Generously grease a 10 inch round cake pan.
In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light. Stir in the flour and mix until the mixture is mealy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Combine the baking powder and milk, add to the egg mixture, mix well. Then combine the lemon juice and baking soda, stir into the batter. Pour into the prepared cake pan.
Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove and sprinkle the nuts and sugar over the cake, then return it to the oven for 20 to 30 additional minutes, until cake springs back to the touch. Gently cut a small hole in the cake and place a quarter in the hole. Try to cover the hole with sugar. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes before inverting onto a plate.
Serve cake warm. Each person in the family gets a slice starting with the youngest.
The VASILOPITA turned out great, and when we cut the bread and served the slices Patricia got the coin making her the lucky one for 2017. LUCKY!