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What Are the Different Types of Greek Sweets?

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  • Last Modified Date: 26 August 2016
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Greek sweets come in a range of shapes and sizes, from the phyllo dough-based dishes such as baklava and kataifi to rich ravani butter cakes. Many sweets, such as loukoumades, are dipped in syrup or honey to give them a glossy, sticky sheen. Nuts such as almonds and walnuts are frequently used in dishes such as karidopita and halva. There are even Greek sweets just for entertaining; they are called spoon sweets and are offered to guests. One defining feature of most of these Greek snacks is that they are very sweet and sometimes very decadent in their use of certain ingredients.

Phyllo dough is the base for many Greek sweets. It is simple flour dough that is rolled until so thin that it is like a sheet of paper. The phyllo dough sheets are usually stacked in a dish with ingredients between them, or the stacked sheets are wrapped around a larger filling. Butter is almost always brushed between the layers of the sheets to help create the flaky consistency for which it is known. There also are recipes in which phyllo dough with butter between the layers is a dessert all by itself.

Baklava is one of the most popular Greek sweets. It is phyllo that has been filled with walnuts and butter and coated in syrup. A variation of the recipe is kataifi. While it uses the same phyllo dough, the dough has been shaped or cut into incredibly thin strands instead of sheets.

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Siropiasta is a word used to describe Greek sweets that are drenched in syrup. This group of sweets also includes baklava. Many types of Greek desserts can quickly become siropiasta. A popular option is to soak pantespani, or sponge cake, in syrup. Traditionally, the syrup should be hot and the cake or pastry cold.

Spoon sweets are a type of small, spoon-sized sweet that are offered to guests. These are most often preserved fruits, though there are other types of spoon sweets. One example, called vanilla, is a combination of sugar and plant resin. These Greek snacks are normally served on a glass or crystal plate with a small spoon.

Greek sweets also include cakes and pies. Ravani is a butter cake that is coated in sweet syrup. Galaktoboureko is a phyllo pie that is filled with custard and topped with orange syrup. Karidopita is a walnut cake with syrup and liqueur, and halva is a semolina cake or pudding with almonds.

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Markus
Post 3

I went up to visit a buddy of mine over the Easter weekend who was celebrating Greek Orthodox at the time. I was amazed at how colorful and abundant all the Greek foods were.

What I found the most surprising though was how many loaves of the traditional Greek sweet bread, tsoureki, they had lying around. I'm not big on sweets or desserts but this bread was delicious.

I learned it's a holiday tradition for both Christmas and Easter to bake the braided bread and exchange it with family and friends. I was lucky enough to have been given a loaf for my trip back home and I still have the pretty red Easter egg from the top of the loaf in my refrigerator.

aviva
Post 2

@Sierra02 - I agree with you that it can take a while to create a good batch of ancient Greek sweets. But there are actually a lot of shortcuts and tips you can take to create some delicious, as well as fast and easy Greek desserts.

One thing I like to do that reduces my preparation time tremendously is to purchase ready made phyllo dough. If your boss is using a good dough then you probably can't tell whether she made it herself or not.

Baklava is the favorite Mediterranean dessert in our house and it seems like I can't make it quick enough for my family. It's something that used to take me nearly two hours to prepare, but now I have it down to just under one hour and fifteen minutes.

Sierra02
Post 1

The company I work for is owned by an older Greek couple who constantly bring in these fabulous Greek pastries to share with the rest of us. She claims that she bakes them all herself, but I wonder sometimes because her husbands brother is a pastry chef at a Greek restaurant.

I've seen a lot of the Greek recipes for the treats that they bring in and it appears to me that much time and patience goes into preparing them, which in my opinion, is not something she has a lot of. But no matter who's baking them, they're all simply delicious.

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