Traditionally served at Christmas and New Year, as well as other special occasions, these classic Greek cake-like biscuits can vary family to family. The Melomakarona have a sweet walnut filling and are coated in a cinnamon honey syrup.
- 125 g unsalted butter, chopped, at room temperature
- 75 g caster sugar
- 1 orange, zested
- 80 ml olive oil
- 450 g (3 cups) plain flour, sifted
- 2 tsp baking powder, sifted
- 80 ml orange juice
- 100 g (1 cup) walnuts, finely chopped, plus extra, to serve
- 50 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp honey
- 220 g (1 cup) white sugar
- 115 g honey
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 piece cassia bark or cinnamon quill
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and zest on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in oil until just combined. Stir in flour and baking powder, alternately with orange juice, until mixture forms a soft dough.
To make walnut filling, combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Shape tablespoonfuls of dough into balls. Make an indent with your finger and fill dough with ¼ tsp filling. Fold over to enclose filling and carefully shape dough, avoiding cracks, into ovals. Place on a large oven tray lined with baking paper and bake for 15 minutes or until golden.
Meanwhile, to make honey syrup, place all the ingredients and 250 ml (1 cup) water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Bring to the boil and cook for a further 8 minutes or until syrup is reduced by one-quarter. Working in batches and using a slotted spoon, lower the warm biscuits into syrup for 15 seconds to coat, reheating the syrup if it cools too much. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and scatter with extra walnuts. Store unsoaked biscuits in an airtight container for up to 5 days, and the soaked biscuits for up to 2 days.
Photography by John Laurie.
As seen in Feast magazine, December 2011, Issue 4.