More Christmas Baking: Melomakarona
Melomakarona is yet another traditional delight that can be found in every house on the island during the Christmas holidays. Dipped in honey, these egg-shaped desserts are so delicious that have often caused family battles on who will eat the last one!
Being so connected to Christmas time, it is hard to guess the long history of these sweets. The word macaroni (pasta) derives from the medieval Greek word Makaronia (Μακαρωνία), a pasta-based meal eaten after funerals. Makaronia, in turn, stems from the ancient Greek word makaria: a piece of bread offered to funeral goers. Later, honey (meli) was added to makaria recipe, and the name changed to melomakarona. Nowadays melomakarona are known as traditional Christmas honey sweets that symbolize creation and prosperity. They are made with a mixture of different oils like olive, seed and corn oil. Being vegan, they can be enjoyed by believers who fast for 40 days before Christmas.
For about 248 melomakarona of 20 gr
2 kg farina or self-raising flour
350 gr semolina fine
400 gr icing sugar
800 gr sunflower oil
200 gr olive oil
20 gr baking powder
4 gr baking soda
10 gr salt
6 gr cinnamon & 4 gr ground cloves
20 gr orange zest – 20 gr mandarin zest – 10 gr lemon zest
150 gr brandy
500 gr fresh orange juice
For the syrup: 1 kg water, 1 ½ kg sugar, 2 cinnamon sticks, 5 whole cloves, peel and juice of half a lemon, half an orange. When it boils for a minute, remove it from the fire and wait for 5 minutes before adding 500 gr honey.
Kneading time: 2’, Shaping: 18 gr, Baking time: 25’ > 175⁰C!
Put all the ingredients in the mixer and mix them on low speed for about 2 minutes until you get a homogeneous dough. If you knead it more, the oil will separate from the dough. You can also mix the dough by hand. Then form small oblong shapes of about 20 gr each. Bake them in a preheated oven. Put the hot melomakarona straight from the oven into the cold syrup. Drain them and springle them with finely ground almonds.