Lantern Pie to reveal the… lost

If you’ve lost something and can’t find it, don’t worry. There is an infallible method, tested over the centuries. You will arrange a pie for the soul of the mother of Agios Fanourios. This is exactly how grandmothers-custodians of Greek traditions and customs have always expressed it. This is a fragrant cake without eggs and butter but only with oil, so it can be eaten while fasting. The lantern pie must contain seven or nine ingredients and during its preparation you must have a candle lit. In many places they burn incense even before they start. So it is customary to make the fanouropita to show us an object, a person or a job, but also to have someone’s health, while in some regions of Greece the fanouropita is made to find a groom for unmarried women. Of course, according to tradition, the lantern pie is offered for the forgiveness of the Saint’s mother, who was very cruel to the poor.


The basic ingredients are oil, flour and sugar. They add orange juice, walnuts, raisins, cinnamon cloves. In a recipe from Rhodes, instead of orange, they put semi-sweet wine. Also, immigrants from Cappadocia speak of fanouropita anevati (with yeast), flavored with anise instead of cinnamon cloves.

No one knows how or why this custom started. Of course, the fanouropita has also been “grafted” with various elements of Greek folklore since some want it to be made strictly with seven ingredients and others with nine. These numbers have their own semiology which is not particularly related to religion but to popular tradition.

One of the most famous recipes is:

3 cups of flour

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

2/3 cup seed oil

1 cup of sugar

1/2 cup water or orange juice

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup of coarsely chopped walnuts (Αλεξιάδου, 1990).


Put the flour with soda, cloves and cinnamon in a bowl and mix well. Then put the oil with sugar and orange juice (or water) in the mixer and beat for a minute. Mix all the ingredients and add the raisins and walnuts and put the mixture in a buttered pan. Bake at 180 degrees for 45 minutes. When it is baked, let it cool and then sprinkle it with powdered sugar, make the shape of the cross or decorate it with corresponding Orthodox and Christian elements, such as flowers or small crosses (Αλεξιάδου, 1990).

Photos by Christina Mystridou

Αλεξιάδου, Β. (1990). Ελληνική Κουζίνα Ζαχαροπλαστική. Θεσσαλονίκη: Εκδόσεις Βέφα Αλεξιάδου