'Lazarakia', traditional Lenten bread for 'Saturday of Lazarus'

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The Saturday before Palm Sunday is "Saturday of Lazarus" and on this day it is a tradition to make "Lazarakia" (literally meaning "Little Lazaruses"). These are traditionally small, sweet and mildly spiced bread, made only once a year. They represent the miracle of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Each region of Greece has a variation of how they make them, however, most have a similar sweet tasting flavour. They are of course Nistisima (Lenten) meaning they do not contain any dairy or egg products. 

Ingredients →

  • 1 kg of plain flour
  • 1 glass of lukewarm water + extra for the kneading
  • 1/4 tea-cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tea-cup of olive oil
  • 1 tea- cups of dark raisins (optional)
  • 1 tea-cup of finely chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 2 sachets of dried yeast
  • 3 levelled tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of ground cloves
  • whole cloves to decorate

Method →

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C. Lay with baking paper a couple of oven trays.
  • Dissolve the yeast in the glass with the lukewarm water.
  • Put the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Fill it with the sugar, the olive oil and the dissolved yeast.
  • Start kneading the ingredients with your hands slowly adding, as you go along, the lukewarm water, just enough until you have a relatively firm dough. Then add the spices, the raisins and the walnuts and continue kneading thoroughly until the dough doesn't stick to the hands at all.
  • Get quantities of the dough and shape into small men (see photo on top). Form eyes, nose and on the forehead with the tip of a clove and then stick where they should be.
  • Transfer bread on the oven trays, cover with a clean kitchen towel and leave to rise for 1 hour.
  • Brush with some oil the Lazarakia for a glossy effect and put in the middle shelf of the oven. Bake until they are nicely golden.
  • Take out of the oven and allow to cool on metal racks before serving.

*Image and recipe by flavoursandflair.com (Copyright)