Holy Thursday is the day that baking is done within the house, the Pascal bread (tsoureki), Pascal shortbread (koulouria) and the dying of the red eggs occurs. No other jobs or chores around the house should be taken care of. Dora Kitinas-Gogos shares this Pascal shortbread recipe:
1 cup butter, plus extra for greasing cookie sheets, 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
2 egg yolks
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground mastic
1/4 cup orange juice
1 oz baking soda
1/2 cup milk
9 cups all purpose flour
Egg wash, made by beating one egg with two tablespoons of milk
Preheat the oven to 170 C. Grease the cookie sheets with butter.
- Beat together the butter and sugar with a mixer. Beating constantly add the eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla, mastic and orange juice and mix.
- Change to the dough hook. Combine the baking soda and milk in a bowl.
- Beating constantly adding the milk mixture in three batches alternating with the flour. Knead the mixture, adding flour if necessary to form a smooth, easy to handle dough.
- Take pieces of the dough and form them into balls about 3/4 of an inch in circumference. It will be convenient to finish rolling all the dough before proceeding to the next step
- Roll each ball into a rod shape and fold it in half, then Place them on the cookie sheets and brush them with egg wash.
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes. They should have a light golden color. Not too brown.
- Take out of the oven and let cool slightly. Remove them from the cookie sheets carefully, as koulourakia can be fragile. Stack them in layers inside cookie tins.
*Note: Koulourakia will keep for up to two months, unless you have little two legged creatures that are always hungry, that can open tins and take out handfuls of koulourakia to enjoy with a glass of milk.