New Year's Cake from Constantinople (Vasilopita Politiki)
- 50 g. of fresh yeast or 2 teaspoons dry
- 1/2 kilo of hard flour
- 1 cup of sugar
- 2 eggs and 2 yolks extra
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of crushed Chios mastic or vanilla
- 1 tablespoon of ground mahleb
- 1/3 cup of evaporated, hot milk
- 1/3 cup of hot, melted butter
- 1 yolk for coating
- blanched almonds for the decoration
Dissolve the yeast in a cup with a little warm water (about 1/3 cup). Pour the yeast mixture into a bowl and add 2 tablespoons of flour, so that you get a thin mush. Leave the mixture to rise until bubbles are created.
Mix in a bowl the flour with baking powder, salt and spices. Open one puddle in the center and add inside sugar, milk, eggs with the yolks slightly beaten and finally the yeast. Take the flour a little by little from around the puddle and knead a soft dough. Dip your hands in warm butter and continue kneading until the butter is finished and incorporated into the dough. Cover the dough with a wet towel and leave it in a warm place for 2 to 2 and 1/2 hours approximately to rise.
Shape the cake in the shape of your choice and place it on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Do not forget to put the coin for good luck! Leave the cake covered in a warm place to double in volume for about 30 minutes.
Brush the surface of the cake with an egg yolk beaten with a little water, sprinkle it with almonds and bake it in a preheated oven at 200° C for 20'-30' until it turns golden brown. Leave the cake to cool off.