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Forty years of love, hard work go into Christmas pastry sale in Biloxi

·3 min read

These sweet pastries and desserts will not be around when Santa wants his Christmas Eve cookies.

Few pastries are as delicate and delicious as those made by the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Auxiliary with a few assists from male church members.

For 40 years, these members have been bringing the Coast these goodies. This year is no exception, as the sale will be from noon to 6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday in Holy Trinity’s parking lot, 255 Beauvoir Road in Biloxi.

In recent years, the auxiliary has expanded to include not only Greek pastries, but Russian, Ukrainian and Hungarian offerings.

As sale co-chairman George Yurchak said: “Once you have tasted these pastries, they will remind you of a testament to the people and periods of cultures alive with romanticism and richness.”

Even though the church will not be having an international festival this year, the sweet and savory pastries will abound. The well-known Greek pastries include Greek bread, tyropita (cheese triangle pies) and spanakopita (spinach pies). These pies are simply thaw and heat and are tasty appetizers to serve holiday guests.

If patrons cannot decide which treats to select, there are two sizes of assorted boxes, a large which had four baklava, four kourambiedes, two kataiffi, two almond cookies, six koulourakia; the small box is simply half the size. Also, for sale individually and by the dozen and half dozen are almond cookies, finikia (honey, cinnamon and walnuts), kouranbiedes (white wedding cookies), kataiffi (shredded filo, walnuts and honey), koulourakia (lightly sweetened cookie twists), Greek cannoli, tsoureki (sweet almond bread), chocolate baklava, ouzo cake and tiramisu.

Both the late Helen Taylor and the late Irene Stevens, faithful members of Holy Trinity, used to tell me that the Greek pastries and food take practice to get just right.

Stevens said, “The koulourakia look like a simple cookie, but they are harder to make than they look.”

I have the recipe from the church’s cookbook, “Family Traditions,” a treasure for cookbook collectors.

The Russian and Ukrainian items include cognac cake, Russian rye bread, kolachy cookies with plum filling and vareniki (cheese and potato perogie. From Hungary will be makos beigli (poppyseed rolls) and Dios Beigli (walnut roll).

Yurchak said preorders are the way to go. That way patrons get the selections they want. Mail orders to P.O. Box 8534, Biloxi, MS 39535

Questions? Call Donna, 601-408-4505 or Katherine, 228-233-9387.

Orders also may be placed online at the church’s website, https://www.holytrinitybilxoi.org/. Walk-up orders also will be available, but some items already may be sold out.

Note: Here is the koulourakia recipe from Holy Trinity’s cookbook. I may give this recipe a try, perhaps, Taylor and Stevens will be watching from above. Last year, I bought 4 dozen koulourakia and they were gone within a week. Every time I turned around; she was eating one of the cookies.

Koulourakia

1 pound sweet butter, softened

2 1/2 cups sugar

8 eggs

1/2 cup orange juice or milk

2 teaspoons vanilla

4 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

8 to 9 cups flour

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well. Add vanilla, orange juice or milk, baking powder, baking soda, mixing well. Add flour, mixing with your hands, until dough is well mixed but not too hard.

For each cookie, use a walnut-sized portion of dough and roll it into a rope shape about 6 inches long. Fold rope in half then twist each half together. Pinch ends. Place on baking sheet. Repeat until all the dough is used. Brush each cookie with an egg wash and bake for 40-45 minutes in a 350-degree oven. – Nicoletta Conner from “Family Traditions”

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