Boil the mahlepi seeds in approximately 200ml of water and remove from the heat when reduced to half. Strain and keep the flavoured water.
Dilute the yeast in 100 ml lukewarm water and 1 tsp of sugar. Add approximately 100 gr of flour and mix well.
Cover and set aside in a warm place to activate the yeast. This should be done within 20 minutes.
Beat the eggs and egg yolks with ½ tsp of salt using a whisk, then set aside.
Melt the butter and stir in the sugar. Mix until the sugar has dissolved completely
Warm up the milk and add to the butter and sugar mix you just prepared
Let the mixture cool down and then add the eggs
Stir in the mahlab flavouring, orange zest and mastic powder
Take half of the sieved flour and start adding it gradually to the mixture.
Once you have mixed in half the flour, add the activated yeast you prepared earlier.
Now gradually fold in the rest of the flour, gently without mixing
Keep on adding flour until you use it all up. Your dough will be ready when it no longer sticks to the sides of your mixing bowl
Cover your dough and set it aside in a warm place. It should rise, roughly doubling in volume within two hours.
Use a double boiler (bain-marie) to melt butter and chocolate.
Once the mixture is fully melted, remove from the hob and integrate the rest of the ingredients, keeping the egg for the end.
Roll a piece of dough, approximately 90 gr, into a long and narrow sheet. (it’s a very elastic dough)
Spread a thin, even layer of cinnamon-chocolate filling.
Roll the long side up and rest the strands in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Cut halfways and proceed with the two strand braiding
Alternatively, just braid 3 strands.
Bake at 180 C for 20 minutes.