Greek Desserts and Pastries

 

 

Saturday was a day I almost died and went to Greek heaven! I was introduced to those rich and mouth-watering Gree ?pastries I’d always heard of but never had.  It was all so good, the recipes must have come directly from heaven through their ancient gods.

At the risk of sounding morbid….if anything untoward happened to me because of a sugar overload that day, I was comforted by the fact I was in a churchyard and would receive the last sacraments….from a Greek Orthodox priest maybe.  But if it’s THE last rites…does it really matter if I’m Catholic? Oh well… all went well and I’m still here….OPA!

This is Part 2 of the festival review of the Greek Festival annually celebrated by the Archangel Michael Greek Orthodox Church.  Yesterday, I featured the savory offerings…and today, the desserts.  I’ve just had a few bites of these yummy treats (again!) and the sugar high is probably showing as I write this.

The Greek people are so blessed to have such wonderful concoctions!  The nuts, the honey, the butter, the aromatic fragrances and flavorings.  And then there’s phyllo dough.  I’m now convinced Phyllo Dough is the greatest contribution of the Greeks to civilization…not philosophy, not languages, not literature or the arts…noooo….it’s phyllo dough.

Let’s start with the Baklava. This is probably the most well-known of Greek pastries.  It’s a luxurious mix of nuts and honey wrapped in butter-brushed layers of phyllo dough, baked and then drenched with honey syrup.  What more can you ever want of a pastry?

Then there was the Kataifi which is chopped walnuts, spices and syrup wrapped in fine strands of kataifi dough.  Like the baklava, it’s baked and then more syrup is poured over it so the now crispy crust will soak it up.

There was also an aromatic shortbread cookie all covered in confectioner’s sugar which the ladies at the dessert line called a Wedding Cookie.  I believe it’s what is also known as Kourabides….then again, I could be wrong. I loved the citrus flavor of this cookie, just a hint, not overpowering…lovely indeed.

My memory fails me on the last two items. I was told what they were called but cannot remember one syllable.  They were not listed on the menu provided but one was like a walnut pound cake with its bottom soaked in a citrus-flavored syrup..  I loved how it was rich, fragrant and moist.  The other one was phyllo dough-wrapped nuts in syrup, topped with just a bit of chocolate ganache.  It didn’t have all the spices of a baklava so I don’t know what it is.

May I just say, it’s all Greek to me…..and I loved it.

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