Mucenici is a traditional holiday in Romania and Moldova on the 9th of March; it celebrates spring and the new spring brings. The legend says that the Martyrs (The Mucenici) were soldiers drowned by the roman emperor Licinius and that the 8 shape symbolises the human body.
Mucenici is a type of bread that is soft and perfumed, glazed with honey and sprinkled with crushed walnuts.
To prepare mucenici, you will need:
- half a kilo of flour
- a cup of milk (you can use water or soy milk if you’re vegan)
- 25g fresh yeast
- the peel of a small orange
- half a cup of olive oil
- 5 spoons of sugar
- a pinch of salt
First of all prepare the fresh yeast: warm the milk and mix it with a spoon of sugar, then incorporate the fresh yeast in it. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, while you grate the orange.
Put all your flour into a large bowl and make a crater in the middle. Pout the milk and yeast, the rest of sugar, the salt, the grated orange peel and the oil altogether.
Then mix well, for around 5 minutes, until the dough stops sticking to your fingers.
At this point, the dough should be soft and elastic. Let it sit in warm place for an hour, so the dough can rise.
Then pre-heat your oven at 180 degrees celsius (350 F) and shape into small eight-shapes pieces.
When you arrange them in the baking tray, make sure you leave a bit of space between them, as they will rise a bit more in the oven.
Bake for around 30 minutes or until golden on top.
While they cool down a bit, warm up some honey and brush the mucenici with plenty of it. The more layers you put, the more syrupy they’ll be. Sprinkle crumbled walnuts of over and pour yourself a nice cup of coffee to go with it.