When it comes to desserts I really love everything from Greece, but let's say this dessert is far away from healthy but it is so incredibly delicious and easy to make, so it's almost irresistable to not making it from time to time :D
So, I've tried to keep it as classic as possible, but happy me, with the help of Airfryer from Phillips I can skip on the frying part and instead use the hot air technology to make them perfectly crisp on the outside as they should be!
So, take a look at the recipe and some information of different Greek desserts you probably haven't heard of :)
There are many different kinds of pastries but the most common pastry in Greece is without a doubt the “filo pastry”. It works amazingly with most sweet and savoury dishes and used to be made by hand even though nowadays people may buy it already made.
Toulouba & Touloubakia
Toulouba or the smaller bite-sized touloubakia is another Greek dessert that proves how varied fried dough and syrup can be.
The name derives from the Turkish ‘pump’ and the Italian ‘tromba’ and by now you wouldn’t be surprised to find out that they feature in Turkish, Armenian, Albanian, Bulgarian, Azerbaijani and Greek cuisines amongst others.
Touloubakia can get incredibly sweet, so a little goes a long way and should be accompanied by a cold glass of water.
A simple dessert that is best eaten when fresh and crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.
Kourkoubinia are the answer to those that love baklava but would prefer to skip the nuts.
These are small and round pieces of crispy phyllo dough that are rolled then fried and drizzled with syrup. So fast and simple.
The next time there is a bit of leftover dough you will know what to make!
Can you have too many syrupy desserts? We didn’t think so!
Roxakia are made of vanilla and chocolate dough, rolled together then cut into small bite-sized pieces and baked until golden brown. These quite hard little biscuits are then put into a syrup bath, where they are left to soak for a few hours until they are ready to be consumed.
The combination of chocolate and vanilla make roxakia a favourite for some people and I couldn’t agree more!
Kolokithopita Glikia (Sweet Pumpkin Pie)
The Greek pumpkin pie has almost nothing in common with the American version other than the key ingredient that is and the fact that both of them are delicious.
To make a sweet pumpkin pie à la Greece you will need a pumpkin, at least 4-5 layers of phyllo and sugar, as well as raisins, walnuts, cinnamon, sesame, and cloves depending on your preference.
Loukoumades and Loukoumas
Loukoumades are best explained as “Greek doughnuts”. They are simple, easy and irresistible, being only fried dough and syrup (or sugar). The classic “loukoumades” are small and round, deep-fried in oil and then sprinkled with honey, sugar, cinnamon, nuts, fruits or a combination of other flavours.
You will find loukoumades all around Greece but one place you should make an effort to see is the aptly called “Lukumades” in Athens. Opened in 2013, with multiple customer service awards, this is one place that has become THE place for dessert in Athens. Any flavour combination you can think of is possible here!
The “loukoumas” is one big doughnut with a hole in the middle. You most likely will find it (or rather hear it) during the summer, when street vendors take to the beach shouting “loukoumaaas, fresh loukoumaaaas”.
This version is soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside, covered entirely in white sugar. A kid favourite for sure!
Halva (with semolina or tahini)
There are actually two popular types of halva found in Greece. The first is soft and syrupy with flavours of cinnamon and clove that is made with semolina. It is usually consumed during periods of fasting when Greek Orthodox are unable to eat dairy or meat.
The second kind is much drier and crumbly and is made from tahini.
Both versions are popular in Greece, the Balkans, the Middle East and parts of Asia and can include different nut butters and spices.
Kormos (also known as Mosaiko)
This is a very simple and irresistible dessert that can be translated to “tree log” due to its long and narrow shape. You can also find it as ‘mosaiko’ from the mosaic like patterns that are revealed once you cut it.
Strictly speaking it is not a Greek dessert but it is widely popular and easily found around the country. With only a few ingredients required, no baking and plenty of chocolate, this is the go-to dessert when you are in a rush or after a dessert that can please adults and children alike.
The taste of the chocolate and biscuits can be enhanced with liqueur, vanilla or even fruits like raspberry.
These sesame and honey bars are the original energy snack and people tend to either love or hate them. You can find them all around Greece, in supermarkets and kiosks (periptera) but you can also make your own version at home very easily.
Sesame and nuts might not be everyone’s definition of a dessert, but these crunchy treats are a healthy alternative packed with antioxidants, proteins and healthy oils and a great source of iron and calcium.
You will also find pasteli bars that are heavy on certain nuts, like almond pasteli and pistachio pasteli. They are most often consumed during periods of fasting when most people abstain from meat and dairy products.
For a vegan option you can swap the honey for agave nectar, maple or date syrup for a bee-free alternative.
Lalagia are classic and traditional treats from the Peloponnese region of Greece and especially Messinia that you will find in every bakery, though they might be harder to find in other places of Greece.
They make an excellent sweet or savoury snack or meal since once you start eating them it is impossible to stop.
The dough is a combination of flour, olive oil, salt and yeast that needs to rest for a few hours before it is shaped in long snake-like rolls that are deep fried in vegetable oil.
The olive oil in the dough makes all the difference, giving them a crunchy and light texture. To finish, you can sprinkle them with sugar and cinnamon or eat with feta cheese and olives. There is no wrong way when it comes to lalagia!
This is a traditional Greek dessert that is heavily linked to Greek Orthodoxy and the feast day of Saint Fanourios, the patron saint of Rhodes, that is celebrated on the 27th of August.
Fanouropita traditionally only contains 7 key ingredients, equal to the number of ‘mysteries’ in the Greek Orthodox Church. In different regions, however, this number is expanded to nine that is linked to the nine orders of angels. The key ingredients are olive oil, orange juice, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, raisins and powdered sugar.
The small and round cake is brought to church on the feast day of the 27th of August during Vespers and blessed by the the priest.
Another Greek cake that is linked to a religious celebration is the Vasilopita or Saint Basil’s Cake.
Saint Basil of Caesarea was a bishop that lived in 330 AD that is most notably remember for his charity towards the poor and the underprivileged, especially children.
His feast day is celebrated on January the 1st and he is the original Santa Claus figure in Greece.
On the night before New Year’s Day, families will prepare the vasilopita and hide a coin or trinket within the dough before baking it. At midnight, the pie is then cut in pieces, making sure to put aside a slice for Saint Basil, the Lord, the poor, the house, other saints or family members that cannot be present. The person who finds the coin is said to have good luck for the rest of the year.
Schools, sports clubs, workplaces, companies and institutions will almost always have a “Cutting of the Vasilopita” day as well, sometime in January or February when all the people have returned from their holidays. In those instances, the “coin” most often will represent another financial prize or gift that is given to the lucky person that finds it.
The melomakarono is a Greek dessert that does not apply itself well to categories. It can be considered a syrup dessert, but it is also often called a ‘honey cookie’ and it is another Greek dessert heavily linked to the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
Made from a mix of semolina flour, oil and walnuts, these orange and brandy flavoured cookies, are bathed in sweet honey syrup before they are topped with an extra layer of crunchy walnuts.
You can find them in most stores during the Christmas period as well as their modern chocolate-covered variation, that is just as satisfying.
Kourabiedes and melomakarona are the Christmas duo that every festive dinner table needs to have. They compliment and balance each other out perfectly so that you are never dessert-free during the five weeks of December and January celebrations.
Melomakarona are the Greek honey cookies and kourabiedes are the almond and butter cookies covered in powdered sugar.
Fluffy, crunchy, buttery and quite messy to eat, kourabiedes are an improved version of shortbread that in addition to Christmas is also prepared during special occasions and weddings and baptisms.
Koulourakia is quite a broad name that covers most Greek cookies, but it is most often used when referring to the orange and vanilla flavoured cookies that are eaten during Easter.
Simple, fluffy and crunchy, these Greek Easter cookies are quite easy to make and surprisingly addictive. The dough is rolled into braids, boats, or simple ‘S’ shapes, and eaten from morning till night until every single one of them is finished.
They are the perfect little treat for a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.
These Greek almond cookies are soft and chewy like a French macaroon and require only a handful of ingredients, while they pack a lot of flavour and are children favourites. It is best to enjoy these straight after baking or the next day, since they do tend to go hard quite fast.
They are great with a cup of tea, a spoon of sweet jam or on their own. Ergolavi are popular treats during special occasions like baptisms and birthdays.
Kariokes are the ultimate chocolate treat, yet can be easily turned into a vegan or dairy free dessert, especially during the fasting period.
They are also a good option when you have leftover cake and wanting to transform it into a chocolate laden treat for the whole family. You will need real chocolate, nuts, biscuits, butter, cinnamon, honey, your choice of liqueur and fragrant vanilla.
These hard to pronounce cookies have one very special and key ingredient, grape molasses.
While it doesn’t sound like the tastier treat there is, these tasty and incredibly healthy cookies are soft, chewy and fragrant. Some of the dominating aromas come from cinnamon, cloves, brandy and orange. While you can find them year-round in Greece and easily make them at home if you can get your hands on some “petimezi”, you will not be able to avoid them during the wine harvest season in early September and October.
Spoon sweets are a category of their own when it comes to Greek desserts. They are fruit preserves, typically homemade and served as a treat when a guest visits you at home.
They are called spoon sweets because of the way they are served, a small delicate plate with a dainty spoon and a tall glass of water, that is necessary due to the sweetness.
You will find spoon sweets made with grapes, bergamont, apple, pear, fig, cherry, orange, lemon, prunes, quince and even cherry tomatoes, while certain nuts and flower petals can also be used.
List of Greek Desserts – Conclusion
If there is one thing that this list of Greek desserts has made abundantly clear is that for sweets lovers, there is incredibly diversity.
Whether you choose to enrich your taste buds with a syrupy Greek dessert, have a classic loukouma or explore the world of Christmas and seasonal Greek desserts, you will never be without an option for an after dinner treat.*source