“Bill Pie” (Vasilopita)

Of course, no Greek New Year’s celebration would be complete without a vasilopita, fondly referred to in our house as Bill Pie. I like this Chian recipe that is more like a cake than a bread.


1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

Grated rind of 2 large oranges

2 teaspoons crushed/powdered Greek mastiha

4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

1 egg yolk blended with 1 tablespoon milk

Powdered sugar

One clean quarter – don’t be cheap and use a penny! – wrapped in aluminum


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Thickly butter a 9-inch round cake pan.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter until it is light and fluffy. Beat in the sugar and beat until the mixture is light. Beat in the eggs, one a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the orange rind and the mastiha.

In a separate bowl, sift together three cups of the flour, the baking powder and salt.

With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the dry mixture alternately with the milk. The batter will be very thick. Gradually blend in the remaining flour, beating well until completely smooth.

Spread the batter into the pan, press the coin into the dough until it is completely covered and then smooth the top. Brush the top evenly with the egg and milk mixture and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 45-60 minutes, until golden. Cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before slicing.