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.
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Galatopita (or galopita) is a Greek milk custard pie made without phyllo or crust
Γαλατόπιτα. Galatopita (sometimes called galopita) is a traditional Greek milk custard pie that is popular in the Peloponnese region of Greece, made especially during Easter. There are several variations, including those with phyllo and those without. If you have ever tasted a great galatopita you would remember its richness, sweetness and unique texture. You may also remember sneaking a few extra pieces after your initial one, how the kitchen smells when it’s baking, and how amazing it tastes right out of the fridge. Galatopita reminds us of all these things, but most of all it reminds us of Helen’s godmother.
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Phanouropita (or fanouropita) is a symbolic and traditional Greek vegan cake full of meaning.
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On August 27 the Orthodox Church celebrates the Feast Day of Saint Phanourios (pronounced “fan-OO-ree-os”) (or Saint Fanourios), the Martyr and Miracle Worker. The saint’s name sounds similar to the Greek verb “phanerono,” which means “to reveal” or “to disclose”. In fact, people pray to Saint Phanourios to help them find lost objects, to reveal lost or hidden spiritual matters of the heart, to redirect them or reveal actions which should be taken, and to restore health. When a lost object is discovered, or when prayers reveal what is needed, a symbolic cake called a phanouropita is baked and brought to the church where it is blessed by the priest and then distributed among the parishioners.
Semolina halva with petimezi, or grape syrup, is a perfect vegan Greek dessert
Σιμιγδαλένιος χαλβάς με πετιμέζι. We are so excited to share this recipe with you! We realize that it’s the first recipe we post using the very special Greek ingredient called petimezi (peh-tee-MEH-zee) , or grape syrup / molasses. Petimezi is pure, concentrated grape juice made from grape must and is perhaps the world’s oldest sweetener. It is a delight!
We love to get creative with halva. Once you get the basic recipe down, you can get very creative with the extra ingredients that will make your halva unique and special. This recipe is inspired by another dessert made using petimezi called moustalevria, a thick pudding made of grape must. Moustalevria is oven served with walnuts and sesame seeds, and so we have incorporated those two ingredients here as well. We hope that you love our semolina halva with petimezi as much as we do!
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Saragli or Baklava cigars are a traditional Greek syrup soaked dessert make with phyllo dough and nuts
Σαραγλί. Do you know what is arguably better than baklava, the king of Greek syrup-soaked desserts? Saragli ! Saragli (pronounced with the accent on the last syllable) are basically baklava rolled into cigar shapes, making them easy to eat with your fingers, which then requires you to lick your fingers clean of the sweet, sticky syrup the saragli are soaked in. Of course, you can always be civilized and use a fork, or a napkin. We won’t judge.
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Unconventional vasilopita for an unconventional year
Purists and traditionalists may cringe at this post, and we’re prepared for the fall out. We know that there are certain things that are sacred and should not be tampered with. Like garlic in tzatziki or bechamel on pastitsio. We get it, we really do!
But let’s face it guys, 2020 has been a very unusual and unconventional year and 2021 is starting off that way as well. In our part of the world we are in the midst of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and the implications are huge. Restaurants remain closed except for take-out, retail shops are now closed, schools are either closed or via distance learning, and gatherings of any kind are prohibited. For those who prefer to ring in the new year in the comfort of their bed, sleeping, this is great! For many others, this sucks – big time!
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The classic Greek almond cookie
Remember when you were a kid and you made someone that you loved a card, or a macaroni Christmas tree ornament, or a finger painting of what was clearly an abstract masterpiece? Remember how excited you were to offer your gift and to sit back and listen to the accolades? Remember the pride, the joy, the downright glee? We really, really hope that you do.
We remember that feeling, and frankly, we’re having the same kind of feels right now. But now it’s not about art, or arts and crafts…it’s about baking and we are practically bursting to finally be able to share with you our recipe for amygdalota. Youppi!!
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Loukoumades, the original Greek doughnut hole!
So…in case any of you were wondering if our recent and exciting Hollywood and media attention would change us…don’t worry. We’re still keeping it real, which is why this post for loukoumades is going to include the following:
- a full disclosure that sometimes, we mess up
- an even fuller disclosure that sometimes one of us messes up, without anyone realizing it, even herself!
- an admission that when questioned, and the realization of a mistake sinks in, the person having done the messing up maintains ignorance and innocence for about 5 minutes before breaking down and confessing all the yucky details
By the way…it doesn’t really matter which one of us messed up…we’re a team. Also, Helen wants it to be clear; the messer-upper was Billie.
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A semolina cake flavoured with syrup and mastic (mastiha) and soaked with a sweet syrup
Greeks love sweet and sticky desserts; so much so that there is an entire class of desserts called Siropiasta, which loosely translates to syrupy or syrup-soaked. There are many ways to get your syrup on, whether it is with traditional Greek pastries like galaktoboureko or baklava or with the lesser known cakes like portokalopita and revani.
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Tiganites: Fried dough, sometimes called Greek-style pancakes, topped with honey
How fitting that we are posting this recipe for tiganites, sometimes referred to as Greek pancakes, in early November. Fitting, because November is when much of the olive harvesting in Greece is occurring. Our mother remembers that when the men of the village set out to begin their long and hard days of manually picking olives from the trees, they were sent off with their satchels loaded with tiganites. These disks of fried dough helped to sustain them and nourish them for the day. Tiganites, she explained, were a great option when options were limited as they are made from ingredients that even the poorest family likely had on hand.
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