Happy New Year! This bread is called Vasilopita, and is made for New Year’s Day. The bread is associated with St Basil. It is traditionally cut at midnight, and a coin is hidden in the bread. Whoever gets the piece of bread with the lucky coin will have a succesfull and prosperous New Year.
Vasilopita is a very special dish in my family, especially due to the fact that so many of my relatives are named Vasili or Vasiliki in honor of my father. Vasilopita is considered Basil pie and is associated with St. Basil’s day, which is on New Year’s Day. The bread (or cake) is made for good luck, and each loaf contains a hidden coin or two within it. It is believed that the person who receives the slice of Vasilopita with the coin inside it will have a year of good luck.
In my family, we cut the Vasilopita to bless our home and bring good luck for the New Year. A piece of cake is cut for the church, the home and each member of the family in order of age!
This year, I was privileged enough to be asked to make a very large Vasilopita for my church, St. George. I placed a cross made from dough on the top of the bread before baking. When I was younger, my mother would always pour honey on top and sprinkle the Vasilopita with powdered sugar, so I serve the dish in exactly the same way!
Vasilopita or St. Basil BreadPrint Recipe
- 6 Packages of Dry Yeast
- 2 Cups Scalded Milk
- 2 cups of Sugar
- 1 Pound Butter Softened
- 1 Tablespoon Salt
- 1 Dozen Eggs Beaten (At Room Temperature)
- 5 Pounds of Flour
Dissolve yeast in scalded milk and let it cool until you can put your finger in it and count to 10.
Add ¼ cup of sugar and ¼ cup flour and allow it to rise and froth.
Whip butter until creamy and add eggs, when mixed add yeast mixture.
Start adding the flour to make the dough come together, remove from mixer and add flour as needed to be able to knead.
Knead for 10 minutes or until dough is elastic.
Let rise until it doubles in size, punch the dough and reshape it and let rise again.
Cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes - If you made small loaves, or 1 hour and 15 minutes for a large loaf.
Tip: cover with foil if you think it is getting to brown before the cooking time is complete, it will need to stay in the oven to get done