Inside The Spice House – From Fasting To Feasting!

Cypriot Orthodox Easter is a time for religious observances, cultural customs, late night vigils, exclamations and exchanges of Pascal greetings, decorating the churches with flowers, the communal breaking of prettily dyed eggs for Easter Sunday, family gatherings and of course traditional feasting.

While the feasting begins on Easter Sunday, during the week before, known as Holy Week, the ovens are fired up and the houses are filled with the aromas of baking various delicious breads, such as Flaounes (Cypriot Easter cheese filled bread), Tsoureki, and Avgoty! Avgoty is a bread specifically made for Easter Sunday to hold the colourful Easter eggs. It is circular with a cross shape in the center.

Delicious Koulourakia are baked alongside the breads – Koularakia meaning ‘cookies’ and here is one of our favourite recipes which happens to be plant based!

Portokaliou – Greek Easter orange cookies

These traditional Easter cookies are light crumbly and soft! Filled with the flavors and aromas of the wonderful oranges adorning the trees right now!


  • 6 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 ½ tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup Olive Oil or sunflower/canola oil
  • 1 cup Orange Juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Orange Zest from one orange


  • Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a large bowl add the all-purpose flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, ground cloves and salt. Whisk all together and set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F (175 C).
  • In a stand mixer add the granulated sugar and olive oil and mix over medium high speed for about 2 minutes.
  • Pour the orange juice, vanilla extract and orange zest and mix until incorporated.
  • Change the whisk attachment to the dough hook and add the flour mixture in thirds. Mix well after every addition on low speed until an elastic dough is formed. Do not overmix.
  • Remove dough from the mixer and place on a clean work surface. The dough should be oily but not sticky.
  • Take a small piece of the dough and shape it into a ball using your palms. On a work surface, roll the dough ball into a log. Shape it into a round or twist cookie as shown in the photos.
  • Place the shaped cookies in lined baking sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are golden on top and golden brown at the bottom.
  • Remove from oven and let them cool for 15 minutes.
  • Enjoy with a cup of Greek coffee!

As for the breads, if bread making is a bit ambitious for you, the bakers are filled with an amazing selection and we love to go and buy a delicious Tsoureki, orange or chocolate and make this indulgent Tsoureki bread pudding.

Well, if you can’t indulge at Easter when can you?

Tsoureki Bread Pudding


· 8 cups tsoureki, cut into bite sized cubes
· 4 large eggs
· 2 ½ cups milk
· 1/2 cup sugar
· 1 teaspoon vanilla
· small amount of butter for greasing the pan
For the sauce
· 2 tbsp unsalted butter
· 1/4 cup milk
· 1/2 cup icing sugar
· 1 tbsp Metaxa (brandy) optional
For serving
· olive oil
· pepper

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spread your cubed tsoureki onto 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Toast them in the oven for 10 minutes, stirring mid-way through and being careful not to burn your bread (8 cups tsoureki, cut into bite sized cubes)
  3. Remove the tsoureki from the oven and transfer the toasted cubes into a greased baking pan (small amount of butter for greasing the pan)
  4. In another bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla. Pour this evenly over the tsoureki. Cover your baking pan with plastic wrap, allowing it to lay directly onto the tsoureki. Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour, or overnight. (4 large eggs,2 ½ cups milk,1/2 cup sugar,1 teaspoon vanilla)
  5. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Remove the plastic wrap from your baking pan and bake your bread pudding in the middle rack of your oven for approximately 45 minutes. If the top begins to brown before your bread pudding is done, simply cover it loosely with tin foil.
  7. Meanwhile, approximately 5 – 10 minutes before your bread pudding is due to come out of the oven, prepare your sauce.
  8. Melt the butter and then combine it with the milk. Stir well. Add the icing sugar and Metaxa and whisk well until the sauce is smooth and uniform. It will be rather thin. (2 tbsp unsalted butter,1/4 cup milk,1/2 cup icing sugar,1 tbsp Metaxa (brandy))
  9. Serve your bread pudding warm, drizzle each portion with a little bit, or a lot, of the sauce.

Enjoy…. and Happy Easter to all!

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