Corfu Recipes - Melomakarona
This page gives you the opportunity to re-create some of your favourite Corfiot taverna recipes at home. This time, Melomakarona - Christmas honey sweets.
Ingredients - Cup of all-purpose unbleached flour. Extra flour for kneading. One and a half teaspoons of baking soda. Quarter teaspoon of salt. One and three-quarters cup of mild olive oil. One and a quarter cup of sugar. Half cup of cognac or port. 3 oranges - zested and juiced. 4 teaspoons of freshly ground cinnamon. One and a half teaspoons of freshly ground cloves. Three-quarters of a teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg. For the syrup: 2 cups of honey. 1 cup of sugar. One inch piece of cinnamon. 1 clove. 1 lemon - zested and juiced. 1 cup of water. For the topping: half a cup of shelled almonds. 1 tablespoon of sugar. 1 teaspoon of freshly ground cinnamon.
Instructions - Start by making the syrup. Put the honey, sugar, cinnamon, clove, and lemon zest in a saucepan and add the water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add the lemon juice, then chill. To blanch the almonds plunge them into boiling water for 1-2 minutes until you see signs of their skins loosening. Then drain and slip or pop them from their skins onto a baking sheet. Toast them in an oven preheated to 350 F for about 10 minutes - just until they begin to colour. Cool, then chop them very, very finely - if you do this in a food processor, make sure that the pulses are short, or the nuts could turn oily. Mix the ground almonds with the sugar and cinnamon and reserve. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together. Put the olive oil and sugar in a large bowl and beat together. Beat in the Cognac, the orange zest, spices, and juice from 2 oranges (about 1/2 cup). Then beat in the flour, a few spoonfuls at a time, until you have a malleable dough, adding more flour if it is too soft, and more orange juice if it is too stiff. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes until very smooth. Pinch off pieces of dough of about 2 tablespons and form into flattened oval or lozenge shapes. Place them on an oiled or non-stick baking sheet. Bake in an oven preheated to 400-425 F for about 20 minutes, until brown. When they are cool enough to handle, dip them in the bowl of syrup for about a minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a tray to cool. Sprinkle with the chopped almonds.
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