Custard with cherry spoon sweet (Κρέμα με κομπόστα κεράσι)

Custard with cherry spoon sweet (Κρέμα με κομπόστα κεράσι)

A simple make-ahead dessert that can be dressed up or down

Custard with cherry spoon sweet (Κρέμα με κομπόστα κεράσι)

One of our favourite treats growing up was a creamy vanilla pudding that came from a box.  This product, imported from Greece, was one of the only “processed” foods that our parents ever made for us, and we loved it!  Whenever we would see the unique blue box with a corn on the cob design on it in the pantry, we got pretty excited. We remember how our parents would mix this pudding powder with milk, cook it while stirring slowly and serve it in shallow bowls. Occasionally they would add a topping of fresh fruit (sliced bananas were a particular favourite) or a spoon sweet they had previously made and preserved.  We still see this box of pudding in the Greek grocery store we frequent, and although we have considered picking one up for old times sake, we’re a little worried that our adult taste buds won’t love it as much as we used to.  Uncomfortable about disrupting such fond food and family memories, we’ve decided to create something similar, using ingredients we know we love.

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Cherry spoon sweet (Κομπόστα κεράσι)

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Cherry spoon sweet (Κομπόστα κεράσι)

A classic Greek dessert that is sweet and simple; a perfect way to sweeten your day!

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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Quince spoon sweet (Κυδώνι γλυκό του κουταλιού)

Quince spoon sweet (Κυδώνι γλυκό του κουταλιού)

Quince spoon sweet is a classic Greek dessert of fruit boiled in a syrup.

We grew up in a home where certain times, certain events, and certain foods needed to be accompanied by certain special things.  So, when guests came over, we put out special bathroom towels.  When our parents’ made vegetable speckled rice, it was served in a special soup tureen (don’t judge).  During the holidays, the furniture and appliances were covered with festive doilies and cloths (versus the rest of the time, when they were covered with everyday doilies and cloths).  And when spoon sweets were served, it was always on little glass plates.

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Spoon sweet vanilla with ouzo (Βανίλια με ούζο)

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Spoon sweet vanilla

Spoon sweet vanilla or Ypovrechio is a classic Greek sweet!

Like many immigrants of their generation, our parents started a new life, in a new country, with very little in their pockets, no social support network, and no knowledge of the language they were now surrounded by.  To make ends meet, they both worked long and hard hours.  When our mother first arrived, alone, in Canada, she worked as a live-in maid for several wealthy families. When she married my dad, they then went on to work in the garment industry,  food processing plants and housekeeping department of a rehabilitation center.  These were not glamorous jobs, but they were always done with pride, respect and commitment.  We can’t remember our parents ever taking a sick day, or ever complaining that they wished they didn’t have to work that day.  As young girls, we saw our dad leaving the house at 6 am, returning home at approximately 4 pm, and then leaving again shortly afterwards to meet our mom at her job.  Her employers were nice enough to allow our father to help her with her work, so that she could finish earlier, and come home to her children.  Looking back, they both must have been exhausted, but we never heard either of them complain that they were tired.  Instead, our father would often say, work is health (η δουλειά είναι υγεία).

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