Tsoureki is a traditional Greek sweet bread, customarily made around Easter, as the three braided strands signify the Holy Trinity. Sometimes it is cooked with a whole egg on top, or is stuffed with chocolate and/or chestnut - but I find my recipe below the most flavourful. We enjoy it year-round, not just for Easter, as it’s the perfect mid-morning snack, enjoyed with a little jam or Nutella! This recipe is not complicated - but it does take a little time, as there are several steps and the dough needs time for leavening. Don’t try to cook this in a rush - it’s one to do when you have a spare morning. The result is worth every moment spent, I assure you!
This recipe really is distinctly Greek, and that’s mostly down to two defining ingredients - mahleb and mastic. You may have to source these online or at a Greek deli. Mahleb is a beautifully aromatic spice, made from the seeds of a species of cherry (the Prunus Mahaleb). Mastic meanwhile is a chewy and refreshing ancient resin, derived from the Pistacia Lentiscus tree, grown on the Greek island of Chios. Mastic is the root of the English word “masticate” - to chew! (It’s a very different type of ‘mastic’ to that which builders use here in the UK! haha)