Traditional Greek spoon sweet made with pears or Ahladi glyko tou koutaliou
Αχλάδι γλυκό του κουταλιού. If you think you might enjoy this recipe, you can thank our dad. Truth be told, he loves his sweets, and he loves to tinker in the kitchen especially when he gets to use the bounty of his garden. This is the man who makes herbed and dried tomatoes from the Roma tomatoes he has grown, which he then gifts to anyone that he feels would enjoy them. He’s also the one who spends hours and hours harvesting, washing, blanching, portioning and freezing all manner of greens like celery, amaranth greens, and spinach for use throughout the colder months. He helps our mom hollow out tomatoes, zucchini and eggplant so that they can make as-good-as-in-the-summer yemista in the dead of winter.
As our parents pear trees grew and grew, and produced more and more fruit, our Baba realized that there were only so many pears that one could simply eat. So, he decided that it would be a good use of his fruit to make a traditional Greek dessert called spoon sweet or glyko tou koutaliou with his pears, or ahladia in Greek.
Spoon sweets (sometimes called kobosta) are a classic Greek dessert. As the name implies, they are super sweet, and usually served in very small portions, often only enough to fit onto a spoon. Typically however, a bit of the spoon sweet is placed on a pretty dish (glass dishes are classic), a small dessert spoon is offered and a tall glass of water. This truly is so special!
There are many varieties of spoon sweet and pear spoon sweet or ahladi glyko tou koutaliou is probably one of our favourites because it is pretty easy to prepare, and pears are quite readily available throughout the year. With the holiday season coming, you may want to think about preparing some pear spoon sweet (ahladi glyko tou koutaliou) to be gifted to someone you think would enjoy a special Greek treat!
What kind of pears should be used to make pear spoon sweet (ahladi glyko tou koutaliou)
You want to use a firm pear to make this spoon sweet because the pear should retain its form even after a significant amount of cooking. We like to use either Bartlett or Forelle pears but any firm pear will do.
How long does pear spoon sweet last?
We have kept unprocessed pear spoon sweet in the refrigerator for several weeks. Otherwise, if you follow the directions for canning your pear spoon sweet it will remain shelf stable for several months. You can learn all about proper canning techniques here.
How do you serve pear spoon sweet?
Traditionally spoon sweets are served as a kerasma, or a small offering to guests when they come over for a visit. You would place a small spoonful or two on a small dish and serve it with a tall glass of cold water or a Greek coffee. You can also serve spoon sweets as a dessert. We also like to use it to top ice cream, or Greek yogourt.
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Pear spoon sweet or Ahladi glyko tou koutaliou
- 6 500 ml mason jars, with rings and lids
- 1 Large bowl
- 1 large pot
- 1 medium size pot
- Large canning pot optional
- 8 cups chopped pears, cored and peeled use Bartlett or Fiorelle
- 4 cups sugar
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cup almonds, raw
- The night before you are planning to make your pear spoon sweet wash, peel and core your pears. Cut them into small pieces (about the size of a small die) and place in a large bowl.
- Sprinkle the sugar and the cinnamon over the pears (there is no need to mix it all together). Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and leave them at room temperature overnight.
- The next morning (or after 12 hours minimally) mix everything together and set aside while you prepare your almonds.
- Place your almonds in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. After a few minutes, drain the almonds; the peel should come off very easily using your fingers. Slice each almond in half lengthwise. Once peeled and halved, return the almonds to the pot, cover with water and bring to a simmer for approximately 30 minutes to soften them. Drain your almonds and set aside.
- Place your pears (including all the liquid) and almonds into a large pot. Stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Using a slotted spoon, divide the pears and almonds evenly into your clean mason jars, leaving 1/2 inch at the top.
- Let the syrup continue cooking, over medium heat, to thicken up just a bit. If it's too watery, add 1 tablespoon of sugar. You will know your syrup is ready when it coats the back of a spoon.
- Divide the liquid evenly amongst the mason jars. Do this slowly as the syrup needs a bit of time to settle to the bottom. continue until all of the syrup is used or until you have 1/2 inch of space at the top of the jar.
- Seal the mason jars and either process them to make the spoon sweet shelf stable or store in the refrigerator. Enjoy once cooled. Pear spoon sweet is delicious served on its own, or on top of Greek yogourt or ice cream.