The traditional New Year’s pie is the symbol of the New Year table.
According to the Orthodox Christian tradition, the custom of the coin placed by the housewives in the pie comes from Caesarea, the birthplace of St. Basil, where he was bishop.
The custom of Basil pie can also be related to the festive bread of the Greek antiquity, which was offered by the Greeks to the gods at the beginning of large agricultural festivals.
The New Year’s meat pie is a version of the Basil pie that used to be made in Thessaly, but it is still an integral part of tradition in many households nowadays.
Except the coin, the housewife used to put in the pie seeds or a branch of vine or a straw, according to the family’s occupation. In the past, Constantine gold, silver and gold coins were put in the pie.
According to New Year’s tradition, the pie is cut and divided in a ritualistic manner on New Year’s Eve. The homeowner, after having made the sign of the cross on the pie three times with the knife, made as many pieces as possible for the family members, plus the pieces dedicated to Christ, Virgin Mary, Santa Claus (called St Basilis in Greece), home and migrant members of the family.
Anyone who got the seeds would have a great crop the next year. If someone found the tree branch, he would have many trees and vines, and the one who found the straw he would have many animals. But the one who found the coin would be the lucky member of the family for the whole year. If a family had a member abroad or in the army, they would have to bring an extra plate, glass, fork and spoon to the table.
Today in modern social life, pie-cutting takes on the character of professional and social obligations, and is often cut after the New Year.
- Ingredients for the filling
10 flour sheets (a mixture of flour and water turned into dough, spread out into very thin layers)
1 kg pork meat cut into small pieces
3-4 pork loins cut into small pieces, optional
5 leeks, finely chopped
5 tbsp olive oil
500 gr ‘feta’, optional
Salt and pepper
1. In a frying pan heat the olive oil and simmer the meat at a high temperature, stirring frequently until it is no longer red.
2. Add the leeks, salt, pepper and continue simmering until lightly softened. Add a glass of water and simmer until the liquids are gone. Remove from the heat and let it cool. In the meantime we are preparing the sheets.
3. Once the filling has cooled, mix the eggs together and pour them into the meat.
4. Add the ‘feta’ into crumbs, optional.
5. Sprinkle half the sheets on a buttered baking sheet one by one in layers.
6. Spread the filling evenly.
7. Cover the pie with the remaining sheets. We cut as many pieces as the visitors at the table.
8. Butter the surface well and bake in a pre-heated oven at 200C until the pie turns brown.