Greek Melomakarona > Greek Honey Cakes

Posted On December 16, 2006

Filed under Hellenic Food

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These are what the Greek housewives bake instead of mince pies. Both recipes are quite straight forward, don’t need any fancy ingredients and are excellent. The recipes are suitable for children to help with in the kitchen as the dough doesn’t suffer with handling, unlike pastry. Have fun!

Ingredients >
375 ml olive oil (use one of the light varieties)
375 ml unsalted butter, softened
125ml sugar
375 ml orange juice
10 ml baking powder
125 ml brandy
Grated orange rind
1.3 kilos of all purpose flour
Chopped walnuts
A syrup made by boiling together 375 ml honey, 375 ml sugar and 375 ml water for 5 minutes.

Method >
Preheat the oven to 180 C and lightly oil several baking sheets or, if you prefer, line them with baking parchment.
Beat together the olive oil, butter and sugar. Dissolve the baking powder in the orange juice and combine in a jug with the brandy and orange rind. Beat the liquid into the oil and sugar mixture and then gradually add the flour until a soft dough is formed. Knead the dough lightly and form into neat ovals, about 5 centimetres long. Arrange about 5 cm apart on baking sheets and bake in a moderate oven (180 C) for 25 minutes. When the biscuits come out of the oven, cool slightly on racks over pans to catch the drips. Pour the hot syrup over the biscuits and then sprinkle with nuts and cinnamon. These keep well for a week or more if stored in tins in a cool place. As the syrup tends to soften the biscuits, some cooks only pour it over immediately prior to serving but it is largely a matter of taste.

Variation > If you really want to get fancy and have more nuts to spare, finely chop some walnuts or almonds and mix with just enough honey to bind. Flatten each ball of dough, put a spoonful of the nut mixture in the middle and wrap the dough around it carefully (the honey will burn if it leaks out) and continue as above.