Βασιλoπιτα (Vassilopita) | New Year’s Greek cake
Happy New Year 2017!

Βασιλόπιτα gateau pie grec greek food new year basil vasilopita patisserie My little wild strawberry!

2017. Here we are! And to celebrate it the best way, I baked the typical new years eve cake, a Vassilopita, which is supposed to be eaten around midnight and will bring luck and protection into the house.

A little bit of history: The tradition of Vassilopita (which is an orthodox celebration) comes from Agios Vassileios’ legend (Saint Basil). In the 4th Century, the Emperor of Cesarea, a province hit by famine, threatened its inhabitants of jail time if they would fail paying their taxes. Everyone gave away their jewelry, but Vassileios brought the Emperor back to reason. He finally renounced to tax the people, and gave all he got to Vassileios, who started wondering how to give back each pieces to the right person. While he was praying, God advised him to bake a huge “pita” and to hide all the jewelry in it. Vassileios finally cut and gave a piece of the pie for each person, and every one of them got their own jewel back, with God’s help.

Today: by tradition, all families will bake a Vassilopita on the 31st of December and will cut it at Midnight. As they are making it, they will place a gold coin inside the raw pie, which symbolizes luck, freedom, health and happiness to whom will find it, and to his entire family*. The eldest person in the family will cut it: the first slice is for Jesus, the second for the Virgin Mary and the third for Vassileios. The remaining slices are for all the family members that are away, the traveler, and the poor. The slices will be distributed to the eldest to the youngest.

*And since it’s a family tradition, it’s a win-win strategy! 🙂

Βασιλόπιτα gateau pie grec greek food new year basil vasilopita patisserie

You’ll find an infinite amount of Vassilopita recipe, but I decided to bake my favorite, with oranges, spice, alcohol and walnuts. We usually use almonds, but I chose walnuts instead as a nod to my Papou (grandfather) who was obsessed with it (one day, I may tell you about the walnut marathon that kept us busy in fall for many many years!)

I wish you an amazing year 2017 and here is the delicious recipe:

Βασιλόπιτα gateau pie grec greek food new year basil vasilopita patisserie

For a 9” spring form
2/3 cup butter •  1 cup sugar • 3 eggs• 1/2 cup freshly squeezed OJ • the zest of 1 orange • 1/4 cup cognac • 1/2 tsp de cinnamon• 1/2 tsp de powered cloves • 1/2 tsp nutmeg • 1/2 vanilla bean • 3 oz. walnuts• 1 pinch of salt • 2 cups flour • 2 tsp baking powder • confectionner’s sugar and/or chocolate for the decor • a gold coin

  • Preheat the oven to 340°F.
  • Separate egg white and yolks.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the whites with the salt until fluffy.
  • In another large bowl, beat butter and sugar until airy and fluffy.
  • Add the yolks, one by one, making sure they incorporated before adding the next one.
  • Pour the OJ and the cognac and add the zest, the spices and the flour.
  • Gently incorporate the meringue and the walnuts.
  • Hide the gold coin (or the regular coin), after boiling it a couple of times in water and vinegar.
  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes (the middle of the cake should be dry).
  • Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan, then decorate, using sugar or chocolate to write the upcoming year on the cake.

Καλή Χρονια! Happy New Year!

Βασιλόπιτα gateau pie grec greek food new year basil vasilopita patisserie

Βασιλόπιτα gateau pie grec greek food new year basil vasilopita patisserie

42 Responses

  1. Tu commences joliment 2017, comme d’hab ceci dit…
    Chacun sa tradition, chez nous on doit planter les lentilles à la ste barbe pour avoir des sous….. tous les ans je compte sur un de mes enfants car cela fait souvent l’objet d’un atelier à la crèche ou école……. Et cette année ils sont revenus sans rien…… J’ai cherché un moment dans les cartables et non vraiment rien ….. 🙁 une autre tradition familiale est de manger des pois chiches au jour de l’an (je crois), tous les ans ma grand mère me sermonnait au téléphone : t’as mangé tes pois chiches ma fille 🙂 et depuis qu’elle est plus là ben… j’oublie….c’est pas comme ça qu’on va revenir à NY en 2017….
    Excellente année Amy et bravo pour cette nouvelle version du blog 🙂 you’re the best
    (je ne t’oublie pas mais je suis déboooordée en ce moment)

    1. Mmmh, pas bon l’histoire des lentilles, comme tu dis, c’est pas ça qui va payer le vol pour NY ahahahah! 😉 (Ceci dit on a mangé la tarte à deux et il nous a fallu 3 jours pour trouer la pièce… hum hum!) En tout cas je ne connaissais pas ni le coup des lentilles, ni celui des pois chiches, j’adore apprendre ce genre de tradition! Bellle année 2017 et j’espère vous voir bientôt par ici!

  2. Étant d’origine grecque nous connaissons très bien cette tradition ancestrale que nous faisons et que nous nous transmettons depuis les ancêtres !!! Ma version est toute différente mais il est vrai que chaque famille y met son ” grain de sel” 😆 je te remercie de ta recette et te souhaite une bonne année 2017😊

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