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Traditional Greek Recipes for Phanouropita

Traditionally the Phanouropita is baked on the feast of Saint Phanourios on August 27th, at which time it is brought to church for a blessing either the evening before during Vespers or on the day of the feast during the Divine Liturgy. This is done to thank the Saint for whatever miracle he has done for us, most commonly in helping us to find lost items and for single people looking for a spouse. The Phanouropita can be baked any time of the year as well.

There is also a tradition that says the mother of Saint Phanourios was a hard-hearted and sinful woman who died unrepentant. Therefore, the Phanouropita is also baked on behalf of the mother of Saint Phanourios, to pray for her forgiveness. Alexandros Papadiamantis writes that whoever invokes the aid of Saint Phanourios must always say: “God forgive the mother of Saint Phanourios.”

After the Phanouropita has been blessed by the priest in the church, the cake is distributed to the faithful in the church or in the neighborhood. One tradition says to distribute it to at least seven houses where someone bears the name “Mary” or “Maria”. It is important that the ingredients always contain either 7 or 9 ingredients, since these are sacred numbers ever since the Pythagoreans. And as with all customs throughout Greece, there are variations of delivery. In Crete, Cyprus, Skiathos, Florina and other areas, the Phanouropita is made to find unmarried daughters a groom. Others believe that it brings good luck and illuminates the way of life of everyone. It is said that Saint Phanourios protects farmers revealing their stolen animals. So if you want Saint Phanourios to reveal something for you, bake a Phanouropita and have it blessed in the church.

Prayers Before and After Baking
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
A heavenly song of praise is chanted radiantly upon the earth; the company of Angels now joyfully celebrateth an earthly festival, and from on high with hymns they praise thy contests, and from below the Church doth proclaim the Heavenly glory which thou hast found by thy labors and struggles, O glorious Phanourios.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. 
Both now and forever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Kontakion in the Third Tone
Thou didst save the Priests from an ungodly captivity, and didst break their bonds by Divine power, O godly-minded one; thou didst bravely shame the audacity of the tyrants, and didst gladden the orders of the Angels, O Great Martyr. Wherefore, we honor thee, O divine warrior, glorious Phanourios.
The Traditional Asia Minor Recipe With 9 Ingredients
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups flour (self rising)
1 cup sugar
1 cup naturally squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup walnuts chopped moderately
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 teaspoon sweet cloves
3/4 teaspoon sweet cinnamon
Before starting execution:
Dissolve the baking soda into the orange juice.
If you already have the raisins in the refrigerator you must put it 4 hours in water to swell. If they are fresh, use directly.
Beat the oil with the sugar until the sugar melts as far as possible. To this mixture add the orange juice we dissolved the baking soda in. Continue beating for 3-4 minutes. (At this stage we use mixer.)
In a bowl we put the flour along with the cloves, cinnamon, walnuts and raisins (which we patted dry to prevent flour clotting).
Mix the mixture with a stirrer or spoon. No need to use the mixer again.
We slightly lubricate the pan (number 28), because our mixture already has oil as needed to prevent sticking, and we spread the mixture.
Put the pan in a preheated oven at 160-170 degrees, depending on the oven (it bakes in resistance and in air) for 40-60 minutes.
Let the Phanouropita cool and then cut it.
The Traditional Kefallonia Recipe With 9 Ingredients
1 package red farina
1 teacup black raisins
1 cup oil
1 cup water
2 teaspoons sweet cinnamon
2 teaspoons sweet cloves
1 cup naturally squeezed orange juice
1 cup sugar
Some Holy Water
Mix well by hand the oil with the sugar and slowly add the remaining ingredients.
Bake at 180 degrees for 45 minutes.
Generally the cake does not swell too much but it is quite tasty.
The Traditional Cypriot Recipe With 9 Ingredients
1 teacup tahini
4 teacups flour (self rising)
1 teaspoon sweet cinnamon
1 cup sugar
12 tablespoons naturally squeezed orange juice
Grated orange peel
1/2 cup water
1 cup of golden and black raisins
1/2 cup walnut
Beat the tahini with the sugar.
Mix the flour with the cinnamon
In a bowl, add the juice, the peel and the water and beat well.
Add the remaining ingredients to combine well.
Put the mixture into a greased and floured pan (number 32).
Bake at 180 degrees for 45 minutes.
Once cooled sprinkle powdered sugar.
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.