2 February 2008

The Art of Making Pasteli

One of the great things about blogging is sharing new ideas and recipes and cultivating new friendships around the world. Anyone who has followed my blog knows that I have an obsession and love of all things Greek. I love the history, the myths, the geography, the culture... and especially the Mediterranean cuisine!!!! Over my past year of blogging I have developed a friendship with Ivy who lives with her family in Athens. She is an inspiration in the art of Greek cuisine with her blog Kopiaste. "Kopiaste" is a word to describe hospitality in Greek. In Ivy's own words, " We say "kopiaste" when we want to share our food with others, or, we say "kopiaste" when we open our house to friends and invite them to come and make themselves at home. So in my way I am inviting you in my kitchen to share with you all my recipes and all my secrets."

When I was a child one of my favourite snacks was "Sesame Snaps". My mom was way before her time shopping at the Health Food Store down the street, buying carob bars and making cheesecake with tofu. All I cared about was the sweet crunchiness of this confection.

In Greece they have a similar snack "pasteli" that is sold in every corner store. On the island of Kea I overdosed on this sweet confection made with the local thyme honey and brought many packages back to Canada for family and friends.

I was feeling a little nostalgic so picked Ivy's brain for a recipe for this Greek candy. She has made me an "honorary Greek" due to the fact that I blog about Greece a fair bit...ok...obsessively. This is my first time making this sweet and I'm not really sure if I made it true to form. I opted for toasted almonds in my pasteli simply because I had some on hand. I also still have some thyme honey leftover from Kea...what a perfect way to recreate the moment. If your mind is wandering to sun drenched coasts I would highly recommend taking a few moments to prepare this sweet confection.

This is the recipe as translated from one of Ivy's cookbooks. I would have loved to have made this in a Greek kitchen with the aid of a Greek friend overlooking the azure Agean Sea. Perhaps someday!


2 cups sesame seeds
2 cups peanuts (or blanched, roasted almonds - that's mine and Ivy's addition)
1 cup granulated sugar
3 spoonfuls of honey

Place peanuts in a baking tin and roast and then peel them.Place sesame seeds in a non stick pan (without oil) and stir constantly until they roast and turn golden.( I assumed on medium heat). Remove sesame seeds from pan and add the sugar and honey to the pan. Mix on medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add the sesame seeds and the peanuts (or almonds)and mix well for about 6 minutes. Spray some oil in a Pyrex dish ,or, slightly grease with margarine and empty the saucepan.

Place greaseproof paper on top and flatten.

When it is nearly cold you carve it with a sharp knife and when it has cooled down you cut it into pieces.

Serves many

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.
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  1. I love pasteli and I too brought some back with me from Greece.

    I've got this on my "to make" list. Yours, Val...looks chewy good!

  2. Val they look so crunchy and I can only imagine the taste of the roasted almonds and sesame seeds. Did they taste as good as the ones you had in Greece? Some things we take them for granted here in Greece. Must try them.

  3. The pasteli did turn out very tasty. The ones on Kea were a little softer..I like them both equally!!!!!!

  4. Valli,

    This pasteli looks very interesting.... I have to try them, I'm sure kids would love it.

    Have a great weekend, Margot

  5. Looks lovely Val, send some my way! :)

  6. My grandmother used to buy a similar candy at an Italian grocer in RI. I don't remember what it was called, but I love this recipe. Thanks so much!

  7. Bookmarked. These sound nice and simple and tasty.

  8. Very popular in Cyprus too.

    Great recipe and "relatively healthy"

    I took often quote Ivy on my website.. I love her blog.

    I love yours too..


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