Zero waste: ekmek with Easter sweet bread

After the festive days of Easter, in our second Easter article we decided to make another zero waste dessert with the traditional Easter sweet bread that was left over, an ekmek with a syrup with soumada (orgeat syrup), pastry cream flavored with mastic and whipped cream. Also, we wanted to look for the history and symbolism of the sweet bread and find other sweets made with sweet bread.

The zero waste ekmek of Eat Dessert First Greece!

No matter how much we searched the internet we did not find a complete history of the Greek sweat bread. We read on various websites that the name tsoureki comes from the Turkish word corek, although it is quite different from the Turkish versions. In Turkey, corek is called various sweet and savory preparations with yeast. We also learned that tsoureki is the evolution of lambrokouloura into a sweet bread with eggs, milk and butter and that it got its name during the Turkish occupation.

Traditional tsoureki with a red egg (source)

Looking back to the past, the tradition of the sweet bread passed from ancient times to the Byzantines. In Byzantium they made the so-called kollyrides, which were breads of various shapes with a red egg in the center. From there we assume that the tradition of the red egg in the Easter tsoureki comes from.

Easter tsoureki with a red egg

Nowadays, housewives traditionally make the Easter tsoureki on Holly Thursday. On the same day, they used to knead Easter breads. They were given different shapes and as we learned they had the corresponding names.

The Easter bread and the tsoureki symbolize the Resurrection, as the flour comes to life and transforms into bread. The bread symbolized life and the pagan tradition, remnants of which we still find today, such as the custom of offering Easter bread and red eggs to the graves of our loved ones.

The Easter tsoureki can have different shapes, with the most common being the braid. In the pagan tradition, braids and knots were considered to ward off evil spirits.

Easter tsoureki

We found these for the history and symbolism of the bun and we hope to be able to enrich our knowledge even more. Let us now turn to another issue we raised in a previous article. There we talked about the philosophy of zero waste, a way of life that protects the environment by reducing the waste we produce.

Especially in recent years, a dialogue has started on sustainability and green management in various fields. One of them is nutrition, which must take into account the management of resources and the protection of the environment. We want green initiatives in restaurants, such as using local ingredients to highlight local produce, traditional recipes and reduce carbon emissions from long-distance shipments. This philosophy was spontaneously shared by our tradition, which with popular wisdom and with the aim of survival included recipes based on seasonal, local products and handmade food.

We can also do this in our homes, use seasonal, local products, prefer handmade, local food and avoid imported products. It is also important to control the amount of waste we produce, and to manage the food in our refrigerator properly so that we do not throw away food. With this in mind, we also thought of looking for sweets that utilize the leftover Easter tsoureki!

Ekmek with tsoureki

As our friend Varvara the Smyrnian had told us, the authentic ekmek from Constantinople is made with a base that looks like a sweet bread. For this reason we chose this particular dessert to close the Easter season!

Ekmek with tsoureki moistened with soumada, pastry cream with mastic and whipped cream from Eat Dessert First Greece!

Pudding with tsoureki

Pudding is a British dessert, and is either sweet or savory. It is made by boiling or steaming. A version of the pudding is made with bread, and as a Greek variant we found the pudding with tsoureki and chocolate, which is baked in a pyrex placed in a pan with boiling water.

Pudding with tsooureki and chocolate (source)

Truffles with tsoureki

Tsoureki truffles are easy and delicious. To make them, we have to grind a lot of tsoureki and mix it with a ganache. Then, if you want, dip them in chocolate or just cover them with cocoa, grated biscuit, nuts, and even grated tsoureki.

Truffles with tsoureki (source)

Tiramisu with tsoureki

Classic Italian dessert with a dose of Greece at its base. It is made with tsoureki dipped in coffee and the classic mascarpone cream, sprinkled with cocoa. Find our version of Greek tiramisu in our older article!

Tiramisu with tsoureki (source)

We found these desserts, if you have any other idea we will be glad to hear it! And now we are going to make our own ekmek with tsoureki, after we remember the summer ekmek with kadaifi that we had made!

Our recipe

Ekmek with tsoureki

Ingredients for the ekmek

Tsourekiin slices, to cover the bottom of your mould
Boiled water1 cup
Soumada (orgeat syrup)1 tbs
Pastry cream (ingredients and method)1 dosage
Mastic 6 tears
Vegetable whipping cream125 ml
The ingredients for the pastry cream

How to make the ekmek

First you have to prepare your pastry cream. You will find the materials and detailed instructions in our oldest article:

In a few words:

Beat the eggs with half the sugar.
Add the flour and the corn flour and beat.
Heat the milk together with the grounded mastic and the rest of the sugar.
Pour the ⅓ of warm milk into the egg mixture.
Return the egg mixture to the remaining milk.
Add the vanilla, stirring constantly.
Once the cream thickens, pour it into a pan.
Cover the surface with cling film and place the cream in the fridge.

When the pastry cream has cooled (it is better to have put it in the refrigerator from the previous night so that it can cool down well), prepare the base from a tsoureki. Cut the tsoureki into slices and place them in the mould that you will use. Fill the gaps with tsoureki pieces.

Dissolve the soumada in a cup of boiling water. With this moisten the tsoureki base. Set aside to absorb well.

Then fluff the pastry cream in the mixer and spread it over the tsoureki slices.

Finally, beat the vegetable cream until it becomes whipped cream. Do not add sugar because the vegetable cream already contains some.

You can spread the whipped cream with a spatula or use a pastry bag to make decorations.

Place the mould in the fridge and in a moment your ekmek will be ready to enjoy it!

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Excellent post! I especially like the idea of tsoureki truffles 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much our dear friend Aspasia! 🙏🙏🌹🌹🌹

      Liked by 1 person

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