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Chocolate Tsoureki, two ways

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Greek

Ingredients

  • 120 ml lukewarm water
  • 50 gr fresh yeast or 17 gr dried yeast
  • 1 kg flour sieved, high protein – look for at least 14%
  • 250 gr butter unsalted plus some extra for plaiting
  • 250 gr sugar
  • 2 whole eggs and 2 yolks
  • 200 ml condensed milk
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp mahlepi seeds
  • 1 tsp mastic powder or 5 mastic crystals
  • 1 orange for its zest

For the Chocolate Cinnamon Filling, for 3 strands

  • 110 gr bittersweet chocolate 70%
  • 85 gr butter
  • 110 gr light brown sugar
  • 30 gr flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 egg white whisked slightly
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon flake sea salt
  • Or
  • two generous spoonfuls of your praline spread of choice

Instructions

  • 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.