Us Greeks we can’t think of Christmas without melomakarona and kourabiedes? Although we have been bombarded these past few days with festive recipes, some traditional some not, no home is complete without these two traditional treats. Today I am having melomakarona filled with kumquat spoon sweet. With kumquats from my garden, I should note 😉
The history of melomakarona
In short, our favorite melomakarono, has a long past and not a very happy one. It comes from the “makaria” which was nothing more than a piece of bread, in the shape of the modern melomakarono, which was offered after the funeral of a deceased.
Later, when macaria was covered with honey syrup, it was called: honey (meli) + macaria = melomakarono and was established as a sweet of this festive season, mainly by the M. Asian Greeks and under the name “foinikia”. The Latins and later the Italians used the word macaroni as maccarone which eventually came to mean spaghetti.
The recipe for melomakarona filled with kumquat
The recipe for the melomakarona filled with kumquat is the classic one, with its sugar, syrup, etc. Lastly, I don’t want to play around with traditional recipes. To make them healthier, I mean. We enjoy them once a tear, let them be the classic ones. After all, so many variations have come out from colleagues, healthy and not. So I’m giving you mother Vicky’s recipe, the one we make at home every year.
We always make stuffed melomakarona, with walnuts, raisins, cinnamon and a little honey. This year my mother had the idea to put kumquat spoon sweet instead of raisins, and they turned out great.
If you love kumquats, I am sure you woyld be interested in this jam.
Melomakarona filled with Kumquat
Melomakarona, the Greek traditional Christmas treat, filled with kumquat spoon sweet. A delicious variation of the classic recipe.
- 1000g cake flour (you may not need all of it), sifted
- 160g sugar
- 180ml orange juice
- 400ml subtle olive oil
- 2 ¾ teaspoons of cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon of cloves
- 125ml cognac
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- grated walnuts, for sprinkling
- 80g walnuts, crushed in a mortar (preferably fresh Greek)
- 150g spoon sweet kumquat, drained and finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon (heaped) of cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 400g sugar
- 400g honey
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 4-5 whole cloves
- 2 spoons of lemon juice
Prepare the filling by kneading all the ingredients in a bowl by hand. The mixture should become solid, like a paste. If necessary, add a bit of honey.
Put the olive oil and sugar in the bowl of the food processor and mix until the sugar melts. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
Mix well the juice and cognac in a bowl. Add the baking soda (be careful because it will foam) and mix. Add this mixture to the bowl along with the spices.
Pour the flour successively into the bowl and mix with the liquids. A soft dough should form, that comes away from the hands and the bowl. Be careful not to knead too much because they will become hard.
Make balls with the dough, about 40g. each. Flatten each ball in the palm of your hand and fill it with some of the filling, about half a teaspoon. Give the shape of the melomakarono, pierce the surface with a fork, or with the grater and place it on pans lined with non-stick paper.
Bake in a preheated oven, at 180°C, for about 30 minutes, until lightly golden. Let them cool completely.
After they have cooled, prepare the syrup by putting the sugar, water, lemon and spices in a saucepan. Let them boil for 4-5 minutes on medium heat. Then, lower the heat to very low and add honey. Stir until melted.
Dip them into the syrup, using a slotted spoon, and leave them for about 1 minute or depending on how honeyed you want them. As I don't want them too honeyed, I leave them for about 45''. Take them out with a slotted spoon and put them on a plate.
Sprinkle with chopped walnuts.