Tuesday I confronted one of the biggest fears remaining on my checklist list -- the fear of cooking. And raising the fear factor: I did it on national TV. In front of Martha Stewart. Now you may think I'm joking, but I haven't had as many butterflies in my stomach since I got into bed with Al Franken -- also on national TV (do you see a pattern?). Check out me whipping up my favorite Greek Christmas dessert, melomakarona, here. The smell of clover, honey, cinnamon, orange, and brandy brought back all the memories of my Mom in the kitchen and all my childhood Christmases.
And here's the recipe (try it... and let me know what you think).
2 cups of olive oil
1 cup of brandy
1 cup of orange juice
225 gr of sugar
grated rind of 1 orange
1 kg of soft flour or 750 g of soft flour and 250 g of semolina
2 tablespoons of baking powder
1 tablespoon of baking soda
1 cup of crushed walnuts
2 cups of honey
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of water
Combine the olive oil, brandy, orange juice, sugar and grated orange rind, and beat well. Add the baking powder and soda to the flour. Transfer the oil mixture to a large bowl and add gradually add the flour. Knead and then form the melomakarona into small rounds or oval shapes. Once this has been done, gently press each melomakarono against the surface of a grater in order to leave a decorative pattern on each one. Put the melomakarona in a baking pan and cook in a pre-heated oven for half an hour, at 160 C. Allow to cool in the pan.
In a saucepan, add the honey, the sugar and 2 cups of water. Boil the syrup for about 5 minutes. Skim the foam off the top, add the cinnamon sticks and then pour the hot syrup over the cold melomakarona. Sprinkle with the crushed walnut and a little cinnamon.
And here are some behind-the-scenes photos from the taping: