Moldavian Martyrs – Traditional Romanian Sweet Bread

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Moldavian Martyrs – Traditional Romanian Sweet Bread

Sfințișori (Little saints) or mucenici moldovenești (Moldavian martyrs), are traditional pastries from Romania and Moldova made to commemorate on March 9 (or March 22, as per Julian calendar), the Christian feast of the 40 Martyrs of Sebaste, a traditional holiday in Romania and Moldova.
The Forty Martyrs of Sebaste or the Holy Forty were a group of Roman soldiers in the Legio XII Fulminata (Armed with Lightning) whose martyrdom in 320 for the Christian faith is recounted in traditional martyrologies.
They were killed near the city of Sebaste, in Lesser Armenia (present-day Sivas in Turkey), victims of the persecutions of Licinius, who after 316, persecuted the Christians of the East. The earliest account of their existence and martyrdom is given by Bishop Basil of Caesarea (370–379) in a homily he delivered on their feast day. The Feast of the Forty Martyrs is thus older than Basil himself, who eulogised them only fifty or sixty years after their deaths.
In the historical region of Moldavia, Sfințișori were dough in large shapes of the figure 8, baked, then smeared with honey and walnuts.
PREP TIME 2 hrs 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Romanian
Servings 9
Calories 295 kcal

Ingredients
  

Dough

  • 1.2 kg flour
  • 400 ml milk
  • 200 g sugar
  • 110 g butter
  • 40 g yeast
  • 4 eggs
  • 10 g salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract

Syrup

  • 350 g honey
  • 200 ml water
  • 200 g nuts

Instructions
 

  • Mix the yeast with 2 tablespoons of sugar from the total amount until the yeast softens. Add 100 ml of warm milk and 2 tablespoons of flour from the total amount, mix and set aside for 10-15 minutes. In a saucepan add the milk, butter, sugar and heat until the sugar and butter melt, but do not let the milk boil. Beat 3 eggs and add them over the milk together with the vanilla, lemon and orange extract.
  • In a large bowl, mix the flour with the salt, the yeast, the composition with eggs, milk and butter and incorporate the flour into the liquid composition. Start kneading and knead about 20 minutes by hand or 10 minutes by robot. The dough must be elastic and resist / return to its original shape when pressed with the finger. Leave the dough to rise for 1 hour and a half or two.
  • After the dough has risen, divide it into 50 gram pieces. We make strips from each piece, weave 2 pieces and give them the shape of "8". Grease the martyrs with 1 beaten egg and leave them in the oven for 35-40 minutes at 180 degrees on the heat program up and down with ventilation.
  • In a saucepan add the honey and water and heat on low heat until you get a liquid syrup. Add the syrup over the martyrs and add ground nuts. I opted for a mix of almonds, hazelnuts, pecans and Brazil nuts.

Notes

Keyword dessert, romanian dessert, romanian food, sweet, sweet bread, traditional dessert, traditional romanian food

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