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Mucenici - A traditional Romanian Dessert

Mucenici is a traditional romanian dessert that is made only once a year on March 9th. Mucenici are made for the religious celebration of the 40 Martyrs of Sevastia. Two different recipes exists for mucenici.

mucenici-muntenia mucenici-moldova

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For both recipes, the mucenici are shaped like an 8 number. For the Moldavian version, the mucenici are shaped like big 8 numbers  and are made from a dough similar to the romanian panettone, sprinkled with honey and walnuts. For the Muntenian version, the mucenici are small 8 numbers from a dough similar with pasta dough, and they are boiled in a sweetened water and served cold with chopped walnuts and cinnamon powder.

Moldavian Mucenici Recipe

Mucenici Moldova

Preparation time: 3 hours

Makes: 12 servings

Dough Ingredients:

  • 1 pound bread flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 oz (150 g) butter
  • 5 oz (150 g) sugar

Decoration ingredients:

  • 9 oz (250 g) grounded walnuts
  • honey
  • 1 egg

Syrup Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 5 oz (150 g) sugar
  • grated lemon peel
  • rum extract
  • vanilla extract

Syrup Preparation:

  1. Boil the water with sugar, vanilla and rum extract. Simmer until it becomes thicker.
  2. Let it cool and add the grated lemon zest.

Preparation:

  • Prepare the syrup as a first step before proceeding to prepare the dough, so you can have it ready when the mucenici are out of the oven.
  • Prepare the dough

For preparing the dough you can either do it manually, or you can use a bread maker machine, that has the option to make dough. Using a bread machine makes the recipe a breeze.

Even if do not own a bread machine, you can still make great mucenici, but with a bit more work to prepare the dough. Our recipe is very straight forward to follow and guarantees great results! Just make sure you use a quality bread flour, so the dough will rise properly. We give below both the classic recipe and the more modern bread making machine recipe.

Moldavian Mucenici - Classic Recipe

  1. For best results, all the ingredients must be kept at the room temperature at least 3 hours before preparing the mucenici dough.
  2. Beat 3 eggs + 3 yolks with sugar, salt. Add lemon zest, rum and vanilla. Let it rest for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Mix the dry yeast with the flour.
  4. Pour luke-warm milk into the eggs' composition  and  then pour the resulting mixture over the flour mixed with the yeast.
  5. Add slowly the melted butter and knead the dough until it can easily separate from the hands. Add the raisins and knead some more.
  6. Cover and let it rest in a warm place until the size of the dough doubles.
  7. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion into small ball.
  8. Flour a table and roll every ball until become a string (thick as a finger). Make a circle and twist it into an eight figure.
  9. Grease a baking tray with butter and flour the surface.
  10. Put the mucenici on the tray and let them rise at warm for about 20 minutes.
  11. Prepare a beaten egg with some milk and brush over the top of mucenici.
  12. Preheat the oven and bake about 30-40 minutes at 350 F (until they become golden-brown).
  13. Put the mucenici on a serving plate with higher borders and pour 2-3 tablespoons syrup on each of them. Spread  honey on the top and sprinkle with finely chopped walnuts. Put enough syrup on the plate so the mucenici are soaked. Keep the plate cover to prevent them from drying.

Moldavian Mucenici - Bread Making Machine Recipe

  1.  For making the dough using a bread machine, make sure that you verify the machine's capacity, and adjust the quantities accordingly. For my machine I make 1 pound flour recipe. The way to verify is to match the quantity of flour in our recipe with the quantity of flour usually recommended in the bread recipes that come with the machine. The machines usually accept multiple sizes, mine has the Medium, Large and Extra Large options. As the Large option corresponds to about 1 pound of flour in their recommended bread recipe, use this recipe and set your machine for the Large option.
  2. Add all the ingredients, except the dry yeast into the bread machine.
  3. The dry yeast should be added into the yeast dispenser.
  4. Select the "dough" option.
  5. Start the machine.
  6. When the machine beeps, your dough is ready.
  7. Remove the dough from the machine and divide in 12 equal portions. Roll each portion into small ball .
  8. Flour a table  and roll every ball until become a string (thick as a finger)). Make a circle and twist it into an eight figure.
  9. Grease a baking tray with butter and flour the surface.
  10. Put the mucenici on the tray and let them rise at warm for about 20 minutes.
  11. Prepare a beaten egg with some milk and brush over the top of mucenici.
  12. Preheat the oven and bake about 30-40 minutes at 350 F (until they become golden-brown).
  13. Put the mucenici on a serving plate with higher borders and pour 2-3 tablespoons syrup on each of them. Spread  honey on the top and sprinkle with finely chopped walnuts. Put enough syrup on the plate so the mucenici are soaked. Keep the plate cover to prevent them from drying.

 

Mucenici Recipe - from Muntenia

Mucenici Muntenia

Preparation time: 3-4 hours (preparation: 2 hours; cooking: 1 hour)

Makes: 12 servings

Dough Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 pinch of salt

Syrup ingredients:

  • 5 oz (150 g) sugar
  • lemon zest
  • rum extract
  • vanilla extract
  • 8 cups water

For Serving:

  • 9 oz ( 250 g ) chopped  walnuts
  • grounded cinnamon

Preparation:

  1. Mix the flour with water and salt. The dough must be a good consistency ( enough to be able to shape it). If necessary add more flour.
  2. Lightly flour a working sheet. Make small balls of dough and roll them into strings about 0.2 inch width. Make little circles. Braid them in pairs to make number 8 figures.
  3. Let the shapes dry for 24 hours. If they are not dry enough the following day, you can speed up the process by putting them in a warm oven that has been turned off.
  4. Boil the water with sugar, vanilla and rum extract.
  5. Put the shaped pasta in the syrup and simmer for about 1 hour (until the pasta is cooked), stirring slowly. Some water may be added in the cooking process.
  6. Let it cool and add the grated lemon zest.
  7. Serve cold with cinnamon and chopped walnuts.

 

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