Fancy St. Phanourios Bread (Phanouropita)

Not even close to fasting!

This recipe originally came from a cookbook for a Greek parish in Chicago, but I've tampered with it, mostly by editorializing.

Doubles well; the recipe given is for one loaf pan worth, but Doubled it makes a bundt pan's worth.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, combine:

  1. 1 cup orange juice

  2. 1/2 cup brandy

  3. 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt

  5. 2 cups golden raisins

  6. 3/4 cup sugar

  7. 1/2 cup honey

  8. 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

  9. 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for exactly ten minutes -- any longer, and you'll have a good caramelized smelling door stop instead of a cake.

Set pot in cold water to cool mixture completely.

Sift into cooled syrup:

  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour

  2. 2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder

  3. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.

Beat vigorously for eight to ten minutes (Takes muscles! We use a wooden spoon for this) or until batter is smooth and bubbly.

Stir in: 2 Tablespoons grated orange peel

Turn into well greased 7" fluted pan or 8" loaf pan.

Sprinkle with 1/2 sesame seeds (optional; skip if you like).

Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Sprinkle with 1/4 cup brandy and cool cake in pan.

Bring to church to have blessed, and then share with parishioners or the poor.

Smells amazingly wonderful while cooking.

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