Vasilopita with mahlep

Vasilopita with mahlep

Traditional Vasilopita with mahlep and mastic


  • 100 grams fresh yeast
  • 1 kg hard flour, suitable for bread making
  • 5 eggs (kept in room temperature)
  • 1,5 cup sugar
  • 1 cup fresh lukewarm milk
  • 250 grams margarine or fresh butter
  • 3 tspn mahlep or mahlepi (μαχλέπι) in Greek
  • 3 crystals of mastic
  • Some sesame seeds for dressing

Mahlep is used in yeast cakes and cookies such as Christmas vasilopita and Easter tsoureki.


  1. Dissolve the yeast in a bowl with 1/2 cup of lukewarm water. Empty two spoons of flour and stir until the flour is dissolved as well. Cover the bowl with a towel so as to keep the mixture warm and keep it in a warm place in approx. 40 C for 1 hour.
  2. Crush in a mortar the mahlep seeds and the mastic crystals. Set the flavorings aside.
  3. Empty in the bowl the sugar and mix. Add 4 eggs and beat lightly. Then pour the milk into the bowl and mix well again.
  4. Finally mix the flour and the flavorings and knead the mixture into a tight dough. The dough should be really tight and will need to be worked hard with your hands.
  5. Melt the margarine and gradually mix the margarine with the dough. Add on each iteration four spoons of melted margarine and work the dough until the margarine is absorbed and unified. Repeat until all the margarine is used.
  6. Put the dough into the bowl, cover with a towel and keep in warm place for 1 – 2 hours until the dough extends its size.
  7. Butter two rounded baking pans or tins and empty the dough into them. You can keep some dough to shape the numbers of the new year, like it is shown in the picture.
  8. Hide a coin on each pan.
  9. Beat the last (5th) egg and baste the surface of each pie.
  10. Dress with sesame seeds.
  11. Bake in preheated oven (150 C – 170 C)  for 30 minutes.

Other recipes from Nikos Lymberopoulos: Lemon tree flower spoon sweet, Melomakarona

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