January 6, 2015

Epiphany and Orthodox Christmas

6th and 7th of January are very important dates in Christianity.
Christians chose January 6 quite early in their history as a feast day representing Illumination, Manifestation, Declaration according to Matthew , Luke and John .The earliest reference to this date - Epiphany, as a Christian feast, was in A.D. 361,noted as the Christ's "Birthday, His Epiphany" Prior to 1976, Anglican churches also observed an eight-day feast, beginning on January 6. 
Today in Eastern Orthodox churches, the emphasis at this feast is on the Jesus Christ as the Messiah and Second Person of the Trinity and baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by St. John the Baptist Trinity manifested to humanity as God the Father by speaking through the clouds, God the Son - baptized in the river, and God the Holy Spirit in the shape of a dove descending from heaven . Thus this holy day is considered to be a Trinitarian feast.

The Orthodox Christians consider Christ's Baptism to be the first step towards the Crucifixion,
The Eve of the Feast is called Paramony (Greek: παραμονή, Slavonic: navechérie). Paramony is observed as a strict fast day, on which those faithful who are physically able, refrain from food until the first star in the evening, On January 7th they celebrate Christ's birth-Christmas.


customs around the world


In France people share one of two types of king cake. In the northern half of France and Belgium the cake is called a Galette des Rois, and is a round, flat, and golden cake made with flake pastry and often filled with frangipane, fruit, or chocolate. In the south, in Provence, and in the south-west, a crown-shaped cake or brioche filled with fruit is called a Gâteau des Rois. Both types of cake contain a charm, usually a porcelain or plastic figurine, called a fève (bean in French).

The cake is cut by the youngest person at the table to assure that the recipient of the bean is random. The person who gets the piece of cake with the charm becomes "king" or "queen" and wears a paper crown provided with the cake. This person has a choice between offering a beverage to everyone around the table, or volunteering to host the next king cake at their home.

In England, the celebration of the Night before Epiphany, Epiphany Eve, is known as Twelfth Night (The first night of Christmas is December 25–26, and Twelfth Night is January 5–6), The yule log was left burning until this day, and the charcoal left was kept until the next Christmas to kindle next year's yule log, as well as to protect the house from fire and lightning. In the past, Epiphany was also a day for playing jokes, similar to April Fool's Day. A traditional dish for Epiphany was Twelfth Cake, a rich, dense, typically English fruitcake. As in France, whoever found the baked-in bean was king for a day, but unique to English tradition, other items can be included in the cake. Whoever found the clove was the villain, the twig-the fool, and the rag- the tart. Another English Epiphany dessert was the jam tart, made into a six-point star for the occasion to symbolize the Star of Bethlehem, and thus called Epiphany tart. Different coloured jams can be used on the tart for luck, creating a dessert with the appearance of stained glass.

In southern India, Epiphany is called the Three Kings Festival and is celebrated in front of the local church like a fair. Families come together and cook sweet rice porridge called Pongal. This day marks the close of the Advent and Christmas season and people remove the cribs and nativity sets at home.
In the past the "kings" were chosen at this day, only from among high-caste families, but since 1946 the celebration has been open to all. But participation is still expensive as it involves getting a horse, costumes, and providing a buffet to the community afterwards, This is undertaken gladly since having son serve as a king is considered a great honour and a blessing on the family.

The Irish call Epiphany the Feast of the Epiphany or traditionally Little Christmas or "Women's Christmas". On the feast of the Three Kings, women traditionally rest and celebrate for themselves after the cooking and work for the Christmas holidays. They may also receive gifts from children, grandchildren or other family members on this day. Other Epiphany customs, which symbolize the end of the Christmas season, are popular in Ireland, such as the burning the sprigs of Christmas holly in the fireplace which have been used as decorations during the past twelve days.

There are varying stories about Epiphany and Italy. In some parts of Italy on the eve of January 6, fairy visits children to fill their socks with candy and presents if they had been good or a lump of coal or dark candy if they had been bad.

Lebanese Christians who gathered for the mass congratulate each other on that day by saying : "El Deyim Deyim" which translates as "The permanent is permanent". They also mix dough made out of water and flour only and it rises outdoors with no yeast by being blessed Lebanese Christians also pray for their deceased.

Epiphany in the Macedonia is known as Vodici (Водици).On this day the priest throw a wooden cross in water body (river or lake) to symbolize the baptism of Christ.[citation needed] Men jump into the cold water to retrieve the cross and the one that manages is believed to be blessed during the whole year These are very festive gatherings. Special food is jelly form pork and beef meat and bones called "pacha" (пача) or "pivtii" (пивтии), prepared the day before, but served on the day after Epiphany, together with warm local brandy, rakija (ракија). Epiphany is a non-working day for the Orthodox believers in Macedonia.

On January 6, as in much of Europe, a Polish style Three Kings cake is served with a coin or almond baked inside. The one who gets it is king or queen for the day, According to Polish tradition this person will be lucky in the coming year. Recipes vary by region. Some serve a French-type puff pastry cake with almond paste filling, others favor a sponge cake with almond cream filling, or light fruitcake. Epiphany in Poland also signals the beginning of zapusty or carnival time, when Pączki (doughnuts) are served.

In Portugal, Epiphany, January 6, is called Dia dos Reis (Day of the Kings), during which the traditional Bolo Rei (King cake) is baked.

As in other Orthodox heritage countries, water rites also play a special role on this day. In Romanian folk it is believed that if a girl slips on ice - or falls into water- on Epiphany, she will surely marry before the end of year.

Epiphany is a public holiday in Sweden, where it is known as "trettondedag jul" ("Thirteenth Day Yule"), as January 6 is the thirteenth day after Christmas Eve, the main day on which Christmas is celebrated in Sweden. However, the end of the Christmas celebration is on January 13, St. Knut's Day, more commonly known as "Twentieth Day Yule" (or "Twentieth Day Knut").

Epiphany Recipes:

(Collected over internet sites and networks, first are Emeril Lagasse's recipes)


Kings Cake




INGREDIENTS

2 envelopes active dry yeast
1/2 cup granulated sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup warm milk (about 110?F)
5 large egg yolks, at room temperature
4 1/2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
4 cups confectionerís sugar
1 plastic king cake baby or a pecan half
5 tablespoons milk, at room temperature
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Purple-, green-, and gold-tinted sugar sprinkles


Combine the yeast and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the melted butter and warm milk. Beat at low speed for 1 minute. With the mixer running, add the egg yolks, then beat for 1 minute at medium-low speed. Add the flour, salt, nutmeg, and lemon zest and beat until everything is incorporated. Increase the speed to high and beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, forms a ball, and starts to climb up the dough hook.
Remove the dough from the bowl. Using your hands, form the dough into a smooth ball. Lightly oil a bowl with the vegetable oil. Place the dough in the bowl and turn it to oil all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Meanwhile, make the filling. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and 1 cup of the confectioner's sugar. Blend by hand or with an electric mixer on low speed. Set aside.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using your fingers, pat it out into a rectangle about 30 inches long and 6 inches wide.
Spread the filling lengthwise over the bottom half of the dough, then flip the top half of the dough over the filling. Seal the edges, pinching the dough together. Shape the dough into a cylinder and place it on the prepared baking sheet seam side down. Shape the dough into a ring and pinch the ends together so there isnít a seam. Insert the king cake baby or pecan half into the ring from the bottom so that it is completely hidden by the dough.
Cover the ring with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and place in a warm, draft-free place. Let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Brush the top of the risen cake with 2 tablespoons of the milk. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Make the icing. Combine the remaining 3 tablespoons milk, the lemon juice, and the remaining 3 cups confectioner's sugar in medium-size mixing bowl. Stir to blend well. With a rubber spatula, spread the icing evenly over the top of the cake. Sprinkle with the sugar crystals, alternating colors around the cake.
The cake is traditionally cut into 2-inch-thick slices with all the guests in attendance


Kings Doughnuts


1 package active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water, not hotter than 110 degrees F
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup melted butter
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 recipe King Cake Icing, as follows
Purple, Green and Gold sanding sugar
ICING

2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
DIRECTIONS

FOR THE DOUGHNUTS:

Place the yeast and the warm water in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Let stand for about 5 minutes or until the yeast begins to bubble. Add the remaining ingredients and mix on low speed for 8 minutes. Scrape the edges of the bowl every few minutes. If you do not have a standing mixer, knead the dough for about 15 minutes.
Remove the dough from the mixer and place in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough proof at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Generously flour a cutting board or a flat surface. Roll the dough out until it is 1/2-inch thick. Cut the doughnuts using a 3-inch round cookie cutter. Cut out the center with a round 1/2-inch cutter. Transfer the doughnuts to a greased baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Let the doughnuts proof at room temperature for another 30 minutes.
Preheat a fryer to 325°F and fry the doughnuts in batches until golden brown on each side, about 5 minutes total. Transfer the doughnuts to a paper towel lined baking sheet or a rack positioned over a baking sheet and let cool for 3 minutes.
Working one at a time, dip one side of a warm doughnut in the King Cake Icing and then sprinkle as desired with purple, green, and gold sugar. Repeat with the remaining donuts.
FOR THE ICING:



King's Cake 2

Emeril Lagasse recipe

1 pound white bread, such as Pullman loaf or French, cut into 1-inch cubes
8 large eggs
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
5 cups plus ¼ cup whole milk
4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
2 ¼ cups Confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Purple, green and gold sanding sugar, for decorating
Blackberry Compote, for serving, optional
Lemon Goat Cheese Ice Cream, for serving, optional, or storebought vanilla ice cream
FOR THE BLACKBERRY COMPOTE

3 pints blackberries
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ lemon, juiced and zested
½ vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
FOR THE LEMON GOAT CHEESE ICE CREAM

3 cups whole milk
1 1/3 cups sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
7 large egg yolks
1 pound soft, mild goat cheese, crumbled at room temperature
DIRECTIONS

TO MAKE THE KING CAKE:

Place the bread in a large mixing bowl.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt and whisk until thickened and smooth. Whisk in 5 cups of the milk, then pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes and allow to sit for about 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Brush a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with some of the melted butter, coating well on all sides, then gently stir the remaining melted butter into the bread mixture. Spoon the bread mixture into the buttered pan and transfer to the oven. Bake until the center of the bread pudding is set and the top is golden brown, 55 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 15 minutes.

While the bread pudding is cooling, combine the confectioners’ sugar, remaining 1/4 cup milk and the lemon juice in a small bowl and stir until smooth. After the pudding has cooled for 15 minutes, pour the sugar glaze evenly over the top, then decorate with the colored sanding sugar as desired.

TO MAKE THE BLACKBERRY COMPOTE:

In a large saucepan combine two pints of the blackberries and the remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the berries have released their juices and the mixture has thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining blackberries. Set aside to cool.

TO MAKE THE LEMON GOAT CHEESE ICE CREAM:

Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl and place another slightly smaller heatproof bowl on top.

Combine the milk, sugar and lemon zest in a large saucepan and bring just to a boil.

In a heatproof mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth, then whisk in some of the hot milk mixture, little by little, to temper the yolks. Whisk the yolk-milk mixture into the hot milk remaining in the saucepan and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat immediately and strain through a fine mesh sieve into the bowl set over the ice bath. Whisk in the goat cheese until smooth, then allow to cool to room temperature. Chill the mixture thoroughly, then process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.



Galette de rois
Authentic French recipes

When working with puff pastry, it’s important to keep it well-chilled and work quickly when rolling as it tends to get stubborn as it warms up. Keep the second piece in the refrigerator until after you’ve rolled out the first. After rolling, brush off any excess flour. And make sure to seal the edges really well to avoid the filling leaking out.
Frozen puff pastry can often be found in the freezer section of well-stocked supermarkets. Avoid brand that list fats other than butter in the ingredients for best results. If you don’t want to use alcohol, simply omit it or use a few drops of orange flower water in its place.
Almond Filling
  • 1 cup (100g) almond flour
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • pinch salt
  • zest of 1/2 orange (unsprayed)
  • 3 1/2 ounces (100g) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoon rum
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1 pound (450g) puff pastry, divided in two pieces, chilled
a whole almond or piece of candied fruit to be the fève
Glaze
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon milk
1. To make the almond filling, in a medium bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the almond flour, sugar, salt, and orange zest. Mash in the butter until it’s completely incorporated. Stir in the eggs one at a time, along with the rum and almond extract. (The mixture may not look completely smooth, which is normal.) Cover and chill.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On lightly floured surface, roll one piece of puff pastry into a circle about 9 1/2-inches (23cm) round. Using a pot lid, plate, or bottom of springform pan as a template, trim the dough into neat circle. Place the dough on the baking sheet.
3. Cover it with a sheet of parchment paper or plastic film, then roll the other piece of dough into a circle, trim it, and lay it on top. Chill the dough for thirty minutes.
4. Remove the dough and almond filling from the refrigerator. Slide the second circle of dough and parchment or plastic from pan so that there is only one circle of dough on the parchment lined baking sheet. Spread the almond filling over the center of the dough, leaving a 1-inch (3cm) exposed border. Place an almond or piece of candied fruit to act as the fève (prize) somewhere in the almond filling, if you wish.
5. Brush water generously around the exposed perimeter of the dough then place the other circle of dough on top of the galette and press down to seal the edges very well. (At this point, you may wish to chill the galette since it’ll be a bit easier to finish and decorate, although it’s not necessary. It can be refrigerated overnight at this point, if you wish.)
6. To bake the galette, preheat the oven to 375ºF (180ºC.) Flute the sides of the dough (as shown in the photo) and use a paring knife to create a design on top. Stir together the egg yolk with the milk and brush it evenly over the top – avoid getting the glaze on the sides, which will inhibit the pastry from rising at the edges. Use a paring knife to poke 5 holes in the top, to allow steam escape while baking.
7. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the galette is browned on top and up the sides. (During baking, if the galette puffs up too dramatically in the oven, you may want to poke it once or twice again with a paring knife to release the steam.) Remove from the oven and slide the galette off the baking sheet and onto a cooling rack. The galette will deflate as it cools, which is normal. Serve warm or at room temperature.
English Twelfth night cake







½ pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ pound sugar
5 eggs, beaten
¼ cup brandy
½ pound all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
½ pound raisins
1 cup blanched almonds, chopped
1 dried bean

Mix all ingredients together and bake in 180C for about twenty minutes

PREPARATION



Epiphany Tart


1 1/2 C. flour
1/2 C. powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
9 Tbl. cold stick butter, cut into pieces
1 egg yolk

an variety of jams

In a food processor, pulse dry ingredients to combine. Add butter and pulse until coarsely cut. Break up the yolk and add in parts, pulsing for 10 seconds after each addition. When the dough clumps, turn dough out onto a work surface. Knead lightly to mix in any unincorporated ingredients. Press into bottom and partially up the sides of a buttered tart pan. Shape the wise men's star with extra dough by pinching and pressing together. Place in freezer for 30 minutes. 

PACHA (Macedonian recipe)



2 pork leg
2 pigs ears
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 cloves of garlic
salt
1 tsp paprika
Pork leg (No. 2) and ears (No. 2) Boil in salted water until ready, shortly before becoming fully ready, add bay leaf (1 pc). The meat is removed, 
drained and cut into small pieces, and the broth, which is meat boil, 
strain. In a pan put the chopped meat, pepper (1/2 teaspoon) and chopped garlic (4 cloves). Pour broth and the patch was allowed to cool, and then placed in a refrigerator to gelatinize. The patch is served cut into pieces and sprinkle with red pepper (1 tsp). Note: To gelled well patch must be prepared, the amount of water which is boiled ears and the feet, is only slightly. After being placed in the pan, pour the meat as much water as cover.

Roscones

(2 large Roscones)
2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast or 1 envelope 7 oz., plus 4 tablespoons of warm water 4 cups of all purpose flour 1 teaspoon of salt 1/2 cup of sugar, plus more for garnish 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, melted 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract 2 large eggs at room temperature 1 beaten egg for the glaze 2 tablespoons of melted butter for the glaze 2 cups diced or sliced guava paste
Pour 4 tablespoons of warm water into a small mixing bowl. The water should be hot, but not so hot that you can’t bear to put your fingers in it. Add 1/2 of the sugar and yeast, and stir to dissolve.
Wait about ten minutes for the yeast to begin to grow. In a large mixing bowl add the flour, salt, remaining sugar and the water and yeast mixture and begin mixing. Use your hands for this, as you really get the perfect feel for the consistency of the dough. Add the butter, vanilla and eggs. Mix well. Knead the dough on a clean, dry, flat surface. Sprinkle your work surface with a handful of flour, put your dough on top, and start kneading. Add bits of flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking to your hands, or surface. Keep kneading until the dough is ready. This may take 8 to 10 minutes. It will be quite elastic. It should not be too dry, however, it should still give and stretch easily without tearing. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 30 seconds. Cover with a towel and let rest for 10 minutes. Punch the dough down and divide into 2 equal size pieces.
Shape each piece into a smooth long rope. Then, using a rolling pin, roll each piece of dough into a long rectangle. Place the guava paste in the middle of each rectangle and roll the dough up jelly-roll style. Connect the two ends together, forming a ring. Repeat the process with the other rectangle. Place the rings, seam side down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, Cover and let rise in a warm place for 20-30 minutes. Using a pair of scissors, make cuts in the dough at 1 1/2″ intervals around the outside edge. Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Brush the tops of the rings with the beaten egg and melted butter. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and the rings are baked through. Sprinkle with sugar on top and let them cool slightly before serving.

Orthodox Christmas customs and recipes

Orthodox Christmas Eve and Christmas Day traditions vary by region, but are similar in symbolic meanings. In Serbian Orthodox customs, oak tree or branch called "badnjak" (much like a yule log in other European traditions), , is ceremonially cut early on the morning of Christmas Eve. The felling, preparation, bringing it in, and laying it on the fire, are very ritual. The burning of the log is accompanied by prayers for a happiness, love and luck. The log burns on throughout Christmas Day, when the first specially chosen visitor strikes it with a branch to make sparks fly for a good luck. Custom is inherited from the old Slavic traditions. They interpret the "badnjak" as an incarnation of the spirit of vegetation, who dies by burning to be reborn, and its sacrifices and prayers were offered for the fertility of fields, the health and happiness of the family. The burning symbolized sunshine, life power in the coming year. The custom that a family brings a log into the house and burns it on Christmas Eve is attested among other South Slavic peoples, with similar names for the log.
Food traditionally made on those days has a special meaning. In Russia and some other Orthodox nations, twelve meals have to be ritually served, similarly to thirteen for the Provencal Christmas Eve, I have talked about in my last post. Cooked wheat has a special place for these holly days. It is called "кутья" in Russian or "Žito" in Serbian. The bread called "česnica" is baked early Christmas Day with a hidden coin inside, and than broken between family members. Who ever got a coin will have the best year, prosperity, luck and health, according to the old beliefs. Armenians have their special vegan pumpkin dessert and Russians have their beet soup - Borsch, of course.
Many Orthodox nations in Africa have similar traditions, but less known. Eritrean tradition is for mothers or daughters to brew Suwa, homemade beer, and bake Injera, a thin, flat spongy sour bread preferably made of Taff flour and cook Zgni, a hot meat stew. Green straw (Setti) is spread on the floor.
Old New Year has less religious but more symbolic traditions and beliefs.
It is believed to be a bad luck to fall asleep on the New Years Eve. More good food on the table for this day, more prosperous year!
However, these days many of us have made New Year's resolutions thinking about better and healthier diet plan for this year. So I have chosen these fabulous vegan recipes, prepared for Orthodox Christian Holidays around a world, traditionally consumed in a days of fasting. Fasting is still important part of traditions in Ortodox Church. It has a deep meaning in cleansing not only your body but also the mind.
I think you can comfortably include some of these recipes in your new diet plan, family weekly menu or some special events. They are unusual, healthy and very tasty!
"Žito" or "кутья" or "кољиво" (Cooked wheat)
(traditional Serbian recipe)
I would call this dish the "origin" of today's cereal. It is much healtier because cooked wheat has its skin preserved and it is made from scratch.  It can be a dessert, or a snack or any time meal. It is prepared for many festivities in traditional celebrations and for fasting Holidays because it is vegan.
Every family has it's own recipe, and definitely it depends on your personal taste.
This recipe is flexible, and you can make it up to your taste. Amount of honey and fruits and nuts can vary and can be adjusted as you make a "žito":
Ingredients:
300 g whole wheat kernels
Honey (to the taste)
100 g chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts..)
100 g dried fruits (raisins, apricots, plums..)
Clean wheat, wash in a strainer under running water, drain and put in a pot and pour water to cover the width of the hand. First boiled water trow away and pour in new water. After boiling cook for about 1 hour or untill soft and kernels broken. Then remove from heat. Grind drained wheat (Food Processor) untill you get almost paste-like consistency (as shown on the photo above). Then add honey, choped nuts and dry fruits . Blend well with a hand.
Serve with whipped cream or vanila yogurt if desired.
 
Prebranac (refried beans)
Ingredients:
1/2 kg (1lb) white beans (big lima type),
1 kg (2lb) onions,
1 tbs sweet red paprika,
1 tsp salt,
black pepper
1,5 l water,
0.1 l vegetable oil
Cook beans on slow temperature, half way cooked, throw away water. Again return to stove, and cook until beans are almost cooked.
Chop onions into thin slices. Heat oil in a big frying pan. Add onions, black pepper, salt and red paprika. Cook untill onions look crystal and soft. Preheat oven to 250 C. In a deep oiled casserole, preferable clay, add first one layer of cooked beans (1/3 of beans). Next layer: cooked onions; again add the layer of beans etc. End with onions. Put a covered dish in the oven for about 45 minutes, till you get nice crust on it and most of water evaporates.
Similar, but more spicy "prebranac" is made in Macedonia and called "Gravče na tavče".
Ghapama
(traditional Armenian recipe)
This spectacular Armenian specialty is strictly vegan because it is prepared for the Christmas Eve fasting. But if you want to prepare it for some other special occasion, my suggestion is to cook rice in milk instead of water with a few tbsp of sugar. That way after baking it in the oven, subtle pumpkin flavour infiltrates the rice pudding and with few chopped sweetened pieces of ginger and cinnamon, takes this dish to the higher culinary level. I made it for the first time this year and took a few pictures (shown above). It is a one funky looking dish!
Ingredients:
1.5 kg pumpkin
70g rice (2.5oz)
70g butter (2.5oz)
70g dried plums, apricots, peaches (no seeds) (2.5oz)
25g honey (or sugar) (1oz)
30g raisins (1oz)
200g apples (diced/cubed) (7oz)
1g cinnamon powder
Salt to taste.
Wash pumpkin, cut off top, remove guts and wash again. In bowl, mix half-cooked rice, washed raisins, dried prunes/apricots/peaches, small cubed apples, and cinnamon. Mix all well. Cover inside of the pumpkin with honey and than put the stuffing in the pumpkin.
Put top of pumpkin back on and bake at 150c until soft.



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