CHRISTMAS #1

Christmas is a feast but the days leading up to it are the 40 days Fast. Though this Fast is not so severe as the Lent before Easter it also includes days of strict fasting and days of abstinence from certain foods. Meals built around bread, lenten trahana and pasta, fresh fish or salt cod, legumes, greens, olives, olive oil, fruits and nuts still hold good among old people. The days when the abstinence is more rigid, sesame oil and tahini (sesame seed paste) substitute the olive oil. However, even during Fast delicacies give pleasure indicating how fasting restrictions are not impediments to gluttony.

tahinopita

TAHINI CAKE (TAHINOPITA, ΤΑΧΙΝΟΠΙΤΑ)

3 cups self- raising flour

1/2 cup semolina

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground gloves

3/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup sultanas

1/2 cup currants

1 1/2 cup tahini + 2 tbs for greasing

1 cup fresh orange juice

juice of one lemon

zest from one orange and one lemon

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup sugar

5 tbs brandy

Beat tahini, sugar, honey, lemon and orange rind for 10 minutes then gradually add in orange juice. Add the walnuts, cinnamon and ground gloves, currants, sultanas, brandy and the baking soda dissolved in the lemon juice. Add the semolina, sift flour twice and fold into tahini mixture. Grease a slab cake pan with tahini and dust it with flour. Turn mixture into pan. Bake in preheated moderate oven for 50-60 minutes.

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