PORTOKALOPITA – Greek Orange CakeCourse: Sweet TreatsCuisine: GreekDifficulty: Medium
Jane explains how she came by this recipe: This traditional sticky orange cake, the colour of Greek sunshine and shimmering with the syrup it’s doused in, is evocative of sun-drenched Greek holidays. Having eaten this in her small family Taverna, Frederiki kindly showed me how to make it in her kitchen one blisteringly hot afternoon. She had no English; I had no Greek, but she managed to scribble the recipe down on one of her restaurant order-pads and it works and is totally delicious.
400g granulated sugar
2 oranges, the zest of both & the juice of one
juice of 1 lemon
500g filo pastry, cut/shredded into (roughly) ½ cm strips
300g caster sugar
285g Greek (or Greek-style) yoghurt, full fat, plus extra for serving
130g olive oil
40g baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
- First, make the syrup. Gently heat the granulated sugar and water together in a saucepan, stirring occasionally, until dissolved. Simmer for 5 minutes then pour into a measuring jug or bowl. Add the juice of one orange and the lemon juice. Set aside to cool to room temperature
- Run your hands through the filo pastry, lifting it up and tossing it around from a height, to make sure the strips are all separated and not still stuck together in layers/chunky slices. Spread out the resultant huge pile of tangled loose strips so they dry out a bit
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a tin (approx.) 33 x 23 x 5cm with baking paper making sure the paper sits a little higher than the tin all the way around. (Scrunching the paper up and opening it out again makes this easier.) Whisk the eggs and caster sugar together at high speed (using a stand mixer or electric hand whisk is easiest) for 5 minutes until doubled in size, pale light and a
- Gently stir in the orange zest, yoghurt, olive oil, baking powder and vanilla extract, then mix in the filo pastry (I use a gloved hand) making sure the filo is evenly coated and distributed. Pour into the prepared tin and cook for 30 minutes. It will be a rich deep golden colour.
- Remove from the oven and with a palette knife gently release/loosen the paper from the edges of the cake. Stir the syrup and immediately start spooning it all over the cake, including into the channels between the cake and paper, allowing it to mostly soak in before adding more. It’s important to pour cold syrup over hot cake. Allow the cake to cool before covering and refrigerating.
- Cut into chunky slices, the size of your choice – I usually cut into 24 pieces (6 x 4), roughly 5 x 5cm each. Some people (me!) might like these pieces halved, some might like larger ones. Serve with Greek yoghurt or ice cream and, to be traditional, a trickle of honey too, if you like.