Cherry spoon sweet (Κομπόστα κεράσι)

Cherry spoon sweet (Κομπόστα κεράσι)

Cherry spoon sweet (Κομπόστα κεράσι)

We cannot begin to tell you how excited we are to share this recipe.  Last year, our dear friend Maria popped by for a visit and brought with her a jar of cherry spoon sweet or kobosta that her mom, Κυρία Βασιλική (Mrs. Vasiliki), had made.  Anyone who is either Greek, or has invited a Greek into their home, knows that it is rare for us to arrive at someone else’s house empty-handed.   It’s not that gifts are required but when they do arrive they are appreciated, especially when they are as delicious as this cherry dessert.  Having already tried some of Κυρία Βασιλική’s creations, we knew that we were in for a treat, but nothing prepared us for the happiness found in that jar.

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Mini apple pies with phyllo or milopitakia (Μηλοπιτάκια)

Mini apple pies with phyllo or milopitakia (Μηλοπιτάκια)

Mini apple pies with phyllo or milopitakia (Μηλοπιτάκια)

 

There is something about pie which just makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside.  The almost meditative act of rolling out the crust, the smell of the pie in the oven, and the sight of the filling bubbling out through the vents on the top crust are enough to make us swoon.  Apple pies are a particular favourite because they are appreciated by so many; who doesn’t love a classic apple pie? (If you answered “yes” to this question, please send us a private message so that we can talk about it).  Although we love baking pies, and have a pretty fail-proof pie crust recipe and technique, sometimes we don’t have the time to get involved in pastry making.  So when time is limited but we can’t shake the need for a dessert with a warm apple filling, we get creative…and that’s how this recipe came to be.

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Revani with coconut (Ρεβανί (ή Ραβανί) με ινδοκάρυδο)

Revani with coconut (Ρεβανί (ή Ραβανί) με ινδοκάρυδο)

Revani with coconut (Ρεβανί (ή Ραβανί) με ινδοκάρυδο)

You may have noticed that Greeks love syrup.  We’ll take a perfectly delicious walnut cake, a delightful phyllo and custard dessert or a simply yummy pear shaped cookie and make them better with syrup.  Sticky, and now even more perfectly delicious, syrup soaked cakes are a particular favourite around here (and by here we mean our family, not the internet…although, we’re working on it!).

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Diples (Δίπλες)

Diples (Δίπλες)

Diples (Δίπλες)

 

Summer is coming, and with it, wedding season.  We love everything about weddings; the blissful couple, the beautiful dress, the personal touches which permeate the entire event.  There is so much to appreciate!  What we love most however are the traditions. Whether they are cultural or religious or simply familial, these traditions situate the nuptials within something larger than the day itself.  How lovely!

Within our family, and Greek culture, we have our own set of traditions.  Some of these, of course, revolve around food.  In the Messinia region of the Peloponnese, which is where our parents and grandparents (and great-grand parents) are from, one of these sweet traditions is diples. Offering diples at weddings represents a wish that as two individuals become one couple and one family, their joys and blessings double. 

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Pantespani (Παντεσπάνι)

Pantespani (Παντεσπάνι). Orange sponge cake

Pantespani (Παντεσπάνι). Greek orange sponge cake

 

Mother’s Day is coming up! Although we are of the opinion that mothers should be celebrated every day of the year, this particular day is an opportunity to  perhaps go the extra mile in showing your mom how much she means to you.  When we were little, we would make cards for our mom; they were adorable, personal and made with such joy.  Our mother would always make a big show of telling us how much she loved these hand-crafted demonstrations of love.  When we had little ones of our own and they began doing the same for us, our hearts glowed.  There is nothing sweeter than a stick figure drawing meant to look like you, with the sweet words of your child written in crayon.  Except perhaps, this sweet cake.

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Tsoureki bread pudding

Tsoureki bread pudding

Tsoureki bread pudding

 

Greek Pascha is the holiday which keeps on giving…leftovers.  One of the things that our Easter season seems to leave us with plenty of is tsoureki, and we’re thrilled.  It seems that most Greek homes bake a huge number of these sweet loaves during this holiday season, many of which are then are gifted to family and friends.  If you are Greek however, you usually end up receiving as many tsourekia as you give away; you end up breaking even!  Good problems to have!

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Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars

 

Our first Xenes Kouppes! We wouldn’t dream about starting this segment of our blog featuring anyone but dear Isabel.  Isabel, who sadly passed away in 2016, was Helen’s mother-in-law; in fact, she may not have realized it, but I considered Isabel to be somewhat of a mother-in-law too.  Isabel was so kind, so much fun, so full of life that everyone who met her wanted to claim her as their own, in some way.

Of English and Scottish descent, Isabel was a great lady who along with her husband Frank, raised 4 children.  Family was everything, and some of her greatest moments were spent surrounded by her sons, daughter and their families.  Blessed with 10 grandchildren, and the ultimate joy of her life, her great-grandson Lincoln, Isabel was the epitome of love.

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Pear-shaped cookies (Αχλαδάκια)

Pear-shaped cookies (Αχλαδάκια)

Pear-shaped cookies (Αχλαδάκια)

This is a post about love.  True love, pure love, everlasting love, and sweet, sweet love. We are so humbled to be able to give you a glimpse into the beautiful story of Κυρία Βασιλεία (Kyria Vasilia) and the love of her life, while at the same time sharing her recipe for what may be the loveliest cookies you’ll ever have.

Several months ago, we were at our Thea Voula’s house (THE Thea Voula of cheesecake fame) for a party.  As is typical for any large family gathering, there was a lot of food, and a lot of dessert.  Good thing we were there for hours; enough time to eat, digest, and eat again.  When it was finally time for coffee and cake, we of course expected her cheesecake, maybe some baklava and likely a galaktoboureko or two.  What we didn’t expect was a platter piled high with syrup soaked, pear-shaped cookies called Ahladakia. These were cookies we recalled eating and loving in a past so distant we couldn’t even remember the last time we had enjoyed them.  We quickly turned to our aunt and asked her where they came from and she responded “Stella brought them”.

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Chocolate halva (Χαλβάς με σοκολάτα)

Chocolate halva (Χαλβάς με σοκολάτα)

Chocolate halva (Χαλβάς με σοκολάτα)

 

Have you ever heard of halva?  If you’re Greek, you probably have, as this is a staple dessert during periods of lent when many abstain from eggs and dairy.  This delightfully vegan dessert is a breeze to put together and when it is done in chocolate as it is here, you’ll find yourself desperate to come up with an excuses to make it over and over again.  We think that I just want to…is reason enough.

Not only is halva delicious, it is also so versatile.  We have previously posted a halva recipe which was flavoured with orange and raisins.  Super delicious! The lovely thing about halva is that once you get the basic recipe down, you will find it pretty easy to experiment with other flavours and combinations of ingredients.  So here, we did just that. We decided to mix in some cocoa powder, dairy free chocolate pieces and finely chopped walnuts to create a chocolate lovers halva.

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Irish soda bread

Irish soda bread

Irish soda bread

 

If you have been following our blog and reading our stories, then you may know that we Greek Canadian sisters are both married to Xeni (if you are Greek, you know exactly what this means…and if you are not Greek, well, Xeni is you).  One of us is married to a man who is of Irish and Scottish descent, and so it seemed fitting to share a recipe from his original neck of the woods, especially with St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner.

Irish soda bread is classified as a quick bread because it does not include yeast, hence there is no proofing time where the dough rises, and then rises again.  Here, baking soda and buttermilk combine to do all the work.  The result is a bread which goes from flour in a bowl to warm bread in your mouth in about 45 minutes.  The Irish know that sometimes, there are more important things to do than spend hours in the kitchen.

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