Saragli or Baklava cigars

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Saragli or Baklava cigars are a traditional Greek syrup soaked dessert make with phyllo dough and nuts

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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Loukoumades (Λουκουμάδες)

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Loukoumades

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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Samali (Σάμαλι)

Samali

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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Apple baklava (Μπακλαβάς με μήλο)

Apple baklava

An apple dessert inspired by baklava!

Apple baklava

So sorry if you’ve been planning on starting a diet, or are working hard at eliminating sweets and other reasons to live from your life.  If you’re committed to this, and have little to no will power, then we suggest you stop reading now, and head on over here. Quickly.  If you’re pretty sure that you can keep reading, for interests sake, and yet remain committed to your new ways, then we suggest you skim this post and try to avoid the photos.  If you feel yourself weakening, hurry on over here.  If however, you have decided that diets are for duds, and that life is too short to avoid deliciousness, have we got a treat for you!

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Portokalopita (Πορτοκαλόπιτα)

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Portokalopita

Portokalopita is a traditional Greek syrup cake made with phyllo and infused with orange flavour 

As far as desserts go, this is a weird one.  Phyllo, which is a staple in Greek cooking both in savoury and sweet recipes, is usually used to hold things together.  Think of the spinach in spanakopita or the creamy custard in bougatsa, delicious fillings wrapped in phyllo.  Phyllo used this way is lovely, convenient, and typical.  Although intimidating at first, working with phyllo in these recipes is easy when you get the hang of it.  Still, you always have to be careful not to dry it out or tear it.  Truth be told, phyllo can be a little finicky.

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

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

Greek Revani (or ravani) with coconut is a light syrup soaked semolina cake you’ll love!

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 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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Pantespani (Παντεσπάνι)

Pantespani

A classic Greek orange dessert with syrup

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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Walnut cake (Karydopita – Καρυδόπιτα)

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A traditional syrup cake full of walnuts and spices

A traditional syrup cake full of walnuts and spices

We almost faked it here.  We were tempted to change this recipe, in order to reflect what we know to be the correct way to bake.  One of us is a pretty avid baker, and has spent years perusing pastry books, taking classes, and working towards making the perfect croquembouche and pastry dough.  That same one of us is also a scientist, and acknowledges that baking…is a science.  And then, we bake with our parents.  Although you very graciously accepted our parents’ milopita recipe, posted exactly as it was baked (meaning…illogically), we wondered, would you accept another hodgepodge dessert?  We were worried.  So we considered telling you that our parents sifted the flour, baking powder and ground spices together, that they mixed the wet ingredients together using a stand mixer before the wet and dry components were combined, you know… to reflect what actual baking books tell you to do. But, we chose not to.  Mia Kouppa is all about keeping it real folks!  Besides, their almost nonsensical way of baking works beautifully – their desserts, including this karydopita, are always delectable, and perfectly composed.

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Baklava (Μπακλαβάς)

Greek Baklava

Baklava is a classic Greek syrupy dessert made with layers of crispy phyllo and lots of nuts!

Before our Mia Kouppa launch about 7 months ago, we established a few goals and rules to keep us focused, and on track.  Our goals included increasing our reach (that’s blog speak for people seeing our stuff) every week, learning all about Tweeting and Pinning, and being invited to appear on Ellen.  Some goals are clearly more attainable than others.  As for the rules, we decided that we would post twice a week (Mondays and Thursdays), not talk about our blog incessantly to friends, family and strangers, and never use the descriptors “THE BEST ever”, “THE MOST delicious”, “THE WORLD’S greatest”, in reference to any recipes we shared.  How could we make such bold assertions? We are not that worldly…but baklava is!

Baklava is one of the most popular and delicious Greek desserts, and it is also an international favourite; there are variations of this sweet treat in many middle Eastern and European countries.  Lucky for us (and you), baklava may be the easiest dessert you will ever make.  Truly, there is actually no way you can mess this up.  Even if you tried, we don’t think you could ruin it.  It is impervious to destruction.  It is less baking and more assembling. If you were really committed, we suppose you could burn it, but then you might burn down your whole kitchen, and we don’t think it is worth it, just to prove us wrong.

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Galaktoboureko (Γαλακτομπούρεκο)

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Galaktoboureko (Γαλακτομπούρεκο)

Galaktoboureko, a Greek classic dessert filled with phyllo and a custard filling.

You know how sometimes things sound much more complicated than they actually are? This may be the case with this recipe.  We tried our best, but making this phyllo-encased, custard-filled, syrup-soaked dessert may read as though it would be very difficult, but fear not! In reality it is super easy….and oh, so worth it!  We have added some extra pictures and videos to help illustrate the technique in case the words alone were too unclear.

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