Easter delights without the guilt
While they may have been established as Easter specialties, most of us are…secretly eating tsourekia and flaounes throughout the year. Especially when it comes to flaounes, Cypriot housewives always try to have an adequate stock in their freezer from Easter onwards, to accompany their afternoon coffee with their friends around the year, while bakeries make tsourekia year-round.
In this case however there is no dilemma. We will enjoy both treats this upcoming Easter, without any guilt. When we talk about Tsoureki in Greece and Cyprus, we are referring to a sweet bread made with eggs, butter and milk. The word tsoureki has Turkish origins and specifically, it is derived from the word çörek, which is used to describe any bread that is made from yeast dough. Tsoureki symbolises the resurrection of Christ, while the bread’s braided-shape dates back to pagan times and serves as a symbol of warding off evil spirits. Usually, the braided tsoureki is accompanied by a red egg at Easter. Greece’s housewives knead the tsoureki dough on the morning of Holy Thursday. On the market, one can find tsourekia covered with milk or white chocolate, or even glazed with chestnut icing. In the last few years, we can also find a Fast-appropriate version of tsoureki sold at bakeries, i.e. without milk and eggs.
In any case, tsoureki is considered rather simple to make, compared with flaounes, which require a more demanding, long and complicated process. According to historical sources, flaounes first started being made on the island in the 19th century on Holy Saturday and were consumed by the faithful after Mass, contributing to the smooth transition from the Lenten fast. It is especially interesting, considering that cheese products are also consumed before the Lenten fast, serving for a smooth transition into the fast. Flaounes come in different shapes and sizes. Some prefer it square-shaped, others like it triangle-shaped and others round. In Paphos, they prefer “Paskies”, a type of round, palm-sized flaounes, which contain pieces of meat.
The production of flaounes cannot be completed in just one day. The housewives first begin with grating the cheeses to prepare the filling, which is called foukos. Foukos usually contains goat cheese, halloumi, eggs as well as seasonings such as mastic, mint, cinnamon and raisins. Housewives leave the filling overnight to rise and the following day, they prepare the dough for the flaouna phyllo. The phyllo is divided in small pieces, and the filling is placed in the middle of them. The sides of the phyllo are then folded. Afterwards, housewives spread beaten eggs with sesame all over each flaouna, before putting them in the oven.
The flaouna is the trademark of the Cypriot Easter. However, according to historical sources, its ancestor was “Palathi” an Ancient Greek pie with figs, whose corresponding Roman name was fladonis. The English on the other hand used to call it flaon! Flaó is the name of a type of Spanish cheesecake made with fresh cheese, eggs and mint.
At Alphamega Hypermarkets, you will find all the ingredients you need to make traditional Easter foods. You can find our offers in our latest brochure.