Raisin Rolls (Stafidopsomo - Lazarakia)

If these Greek raisin rolls are made on the last Saturday before Easter Saturday, as is the custom, they are made in the shape of little men with crossed arms, and this is called "crucifying Lazarus".

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2 kg of tsoureki flour
600 gr of sugar
80 gr  of beer yeast
water in which cinnamon has been boiled
1600 gr of  raisins
2 tbs of brandy
1 1/2 cups of olive oil
sesame seeds


Preheat oven at 200° C.

1.  Put the flour in a basin and pour the olive oil over the top.

2.  Rub the flour between the hands so as to mix the oil thoroughly with it.

3.  Make a depression in the middle of the flour, dissolve the beer yeast in lukewarm water in which cinnamon has been boiled, and add to the dough.

4.  Knead, adding more cinnamon water if necessary. Leave the dough for about six hours to prove (it should rise to the point where it overflows the basin).

5.  Grate the raisins, add cinnamon and a little grated clove, add the brandy and stir this mixture well.

6.  When the dough is ready, separate into portions large enough to make rolls.

7.  Spread these out so that they are elongated and wide, put a little of the brandy mixture on top, then fold the dough into the centre to close.

8.  Put the rolls on greaseproof paper in a baking tray, widely spaced to allow plenty of room for them to swell during baking.

9.  Cover the tray and let stand to prove again (which will take about 1 1/2 hours in a warm room). To test whether the rolls are ready to bake, poke them: they should be springy to the touch.

10.  Brush very gently with a solution of glucose and sprinkle with plenty of sesame seeds.

11. Bake for about one hour in the oven (at 200° C). The rolls can be eaten whole, or sliced.

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