Greek Pastries and Desserts

Greece, Pastry -

Greek Pastries and Desserts

 One of my favorite parts of the Greek cuisine is dessert, specifically the pastries. If you have been to Greece, you know there is no "wrong" time to eat dessert. A piece of kataifi with your morning café? Sure. A slice of baklava after lunch? Of course. A quick walk to the bakery for some loukoumades after dinner? You bet. The hospitality of many restaurants in Greece almost require you to have dessert. In fact, many times this past summer when I was in Crete, dessert was brought to us, even when we didn't order it. For centuries, Greek desserts have been served for numerous different occasions. Weddings, festivals, Saint's days, Christmas, New Year's, and Pascha (Easter) all have a specific Greek dessert attached to them. This week, we will look at some of my favorite desserts, the history, the process, and the taste. Of course, for me to do this for every dessert in Greek cuisine would result in a book, not a blog...but I did add a list of additional desserts at the bottom. Bonus points to anyone who can comment a dessert which I forgot to list! 

Baklava (available in 12pc tray, 30pc tray, 60pc case, cake-sized Cheesecake Baklava)

Baklava is the top pastry Americans ask Greeks about. You do not run a Greek restaurant in America without offering baklava. It is also one of the most debated pastries in the world in terms of where it is from. The truth is largely unknown, (many people believe it is either Greek, Turkish, Persian, or Asian), but one thing most can agree on is that it is delicious. Baklava is made by layering phyllo dough, nuts, and honey, while seasoning with cinnamon. The creation is a crunching, honey-filled bite of warmth. Baklava is enjoyed year-round as one of the most popular desserts in the world. 

Loukoumades (Mix is sold in store and online, CLICK HERE)

Loukoumades are thought to have been around since the Ancient Greek times. The earliest references to this type of dessert comes from the Ancient Olympic games, which of course, was invented by the Greeks. Loukoumades are made by frying dough and then soaking in a mixture of honey or syrup, then topped with cinnamon, and sometimes powdered sugar or chopped nuts. Loukoumades are prepared in a variety of ways in Greece to add additional favors, much like doughnuts here in America. You can add chocolate syrup, or mix with ice cream if you have an extra sweet tooth. Typically served for celebrations or festivals, this dessert is made to be enjoyed by groups of people. At Greek Festivals around the United States, loukoumades booths are always a staple. 

Kourabiedes (available in 40 pc tray/ 80 pc case-small size, and 75 pc case- big size)

Kourabiedes are known as the traditional wedding cookies. The dessert may have been "born" in Persia (also the birthplace of sugar), but has grown to be adopted by much of Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Kourabiedes are made with butter, almonds, and sugar. The cookie is associated with weddings, baptisms, and Christmas in Greek culture. Many believe them to be a symbol of joy and happy days. 

Galaktoboureko (available by tray)

Galaktoboureko, known as the milk pie (gala means milk in Greek), originated in Ancient Greece, when a barley pudding (much like the custard inside of today's form of Galaktoboureko) was served. Known typically for the layers of phyllo and sweet syrup, the most important ingredient is semolina, which gives some texture to an otherwise smooth custard. Galaktoboureko is a dessert that embodies the essence of Greek culinary tradition, showcasing the art of layering flavors and textures to create a sweet indulgence.

Melomakarono (available in 40 pc tray/ 80 pc case-small size, and 75 pc case- big size)

Melomakarono was established as a sweet treat on the 12th day of Christmas. Mainly from the Greek Asia Minors, with the nickname "finikia", because they added chourmas (palm seeds) to the dough. With the birth of Jesus, an old world was lost, while a new one was taking its place, giving a new sweeter life. As a result, honey was added to “Makaria”, which symbolizes the welfare/well-being. The taste is a combination of nuts and honey, but in a different way than baklava. It is much softer, it almost melts in your mouth. This is my favorite dessert in Greek cuisine, I can easily eat six of them in one sitting!

Tsoureki (available by the loaf)

Tsoureki is known to be the traditional Pascha (Easter in Greek) bread. Originating in Turkey, and making its way to Greece through Constantinople, tsoureki has been served during Pascha for centuries. The red hard-boiled egg which is sometimes put in the center represents the blood of Christ, who on Easter rises from the dead. The three braids of dough represent the Holy Trinity. Like any traditional recipe, tsoureki varies according to the baker. The mahlepi (cherry-flavored seeds that are pulverized) or masticha (special sap from the mastichodenro bush) give the bread an unusual flavor. Some people arrange the hard-boiled eggs in the dough before baking, others poke them in afterward; some top with sesame seeds, others sprinkle on slivered almonds; some braid three dough ropes, others twist with two. Recipes differ. But no one questions the bread's appetite-satisfying value. At Easter there's an element of anticipation about tsoureki. You have to keep in mind that people do fast, and this makes the sweet bread that much more of a treat.

Others: Kataifi (available in 30pc tray, 60pc case), Koulourakia (available in 9lb case), Karidopita (available by tray), Bougasta (available by tray, or triangle style like Spanakopita), Portokalopita, Ravani, Rizogalo, Melopita, Diples, Halva (available in many forms, CLICK HERE), Amygdalota, Vasilopita (seasonally available by cake), Yiaourtopita... the list goes on and on.

Thank you for reading along, I appreciate all of the readers who continue to give support on our social media platforms. Have a nice weekend, see you next Friday!

- Nick's

1 comment

  • Zoe Mouris

    One of My favorites is Pasta Flora (with apricot jam)!

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