And now for my final demonstration…
Had to fudge a bit on the timing of this one (i.e. it was not technically a 30 by 30) because vasilopita is traditionally a New Year’s Day dish, in honor of St. Basil the Great’s feast day on January 1st.
The recipe calls for a stand mixer, which I don’t have, but I figured that people have been making this bread since long before stand mixers so I’d give it a go anyway.
Allowing the butter to soften really helps this process…as does solid upper arm strength. I had one of those two things working in my favor (I’ll let you guess which one).
I also halved the recipe as it was far more bread than I needed (even with the intention to share). Turns out that 3.5 cups of GF baking flour is about equal to one bag of Bob’s Red Mill.
I worked the dry ingredients in slowly (giving enough time for my, uh, solid upper arm strength to blend it all together).
The recipe says that the batter should be “thick but spreadable” and, amazingly enough, it is. It smoothed down quite nicely into the buttered baking dish.
note: you could probably quite easily make this recipe vegan/allergy-friendly by substituting the eggs with flax eggs and the butter with Earth Balance, but as St. Basil’s Day falls within the fast-free season of Nativity, I went right for full recipe in all of its egg-y and butter-y goodness.
Per tradition, a coin is then placed into the batter. There are a few different stories about how this came to be, but regardless of which one is most accurate, what each story honors is St. Basil’s faith, wisdom, and generosity.
I didn’t have the customary quarter, so I cleaned & wrapped a 20-pence piece in aluminum foil instead. A little bit of 2009’s history in 2015’s cake.
After hiding the coin (and spinning the pan around a few times so that even I wouldn’t know where it was) the top of the bread was brushed with a glaze…
…and then decorated with almonds.
Said a little prayer, and then into the oven it went. 40 minutes later, my apartment cozy with the warm smell of baked bread, the verdict was in:
Or at least, the start of one. This recipe definitely has promise and I’d like to tweak it a little more next year. It turned out to be a bit more dry and crumbly than I’d like, and I would love to add in some extra flavor next time (like orange) but overall it was delicious and sweet and a wonderful way to celebrate St. Basil’s Day and the dawn of a new calendar year.