5 Popular Greek Desserts to Try This New Year

You may have heard of rice pudding or baklava and not attributed it to Greek desserts, but they are two of the more available options. Although Greek desserts are less commonly known than in other cultures, there are many delicious sweets to choose from. This new year, consider trying one of these five popular Greek desserts.

 

Loukoumades

Loukoumades are a Greek dessert made of fried dough. It is often compared to a donut or funnel cake. The dough comprises flour, yeast, sugar, and water rolled into a small ball and fried in oil. Once the frying is complete, bakers typically top loukoumades with a honey sauce.

Cinnamon and chopped nuts are often an additional topping to Greek loukoumades. Other tasty topping options include chocolate, caramel, and Nutella. These delicious treats are usually found at festivals or celebrations.

 

Portokalopita

Imagine a cake with layers of phyllo dough and custard with a custard filling. This delectable dessert brings varying flavors and textures to create a popular Greek dish. Greeks make the custard of eggs, sugar, and semolina. 

Once baked, the cake is typically soaked in a sweet syrup made from orange juice and sugar. The orange flavor is strong in this dessert!

It’s also good to note that portokalopita is famous for even those that don’t often bake, as this is one dish where you don’t have to be gentle with the phyllo dough. 

 

Kserotigana

As with many Greek desserts, kserotigana features phyllo dough. The phyllo dough is deep-fried in this decadent dish and rolled into mixed nuts and cinnamon sugar. They are served in a delicate spiral shape, drizzled with honey or syrup. 

Kserotigana can be found at nearly any bakery or sweet shop in Greece but is also a common feature at weddings, baptisms, and other special events. Most commonly, kserotigana is associated with Easter.

 

Diples

Diples are a Greek dessert somewhat similar to Kserotigana, especially in preparation. Diples is a phyllo dough pastry that is deep fried and folded. It often includes extra flavors like cinnamon and vanilla. They are served in long spirals with a honey glaze and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.  

 

Halvas

If you’re looking for the Greek version of fudge, it’s halvas. Halvas is created with tahini, a paste made from sesame seeds. It also includes nuts, sugar, and spices to make a delicious little sweet. A bit of honey or syrup adds to the sweetness of the dish.

This dessert is firm enough to form blocks, balls, or other shapes and is served as a standard dessert at special events and in cafes. 

The History of Loukoumades, the Greek Donut

Loukoumades have a long history that dates back to the first Olympic Games. Greeks revered the Gods, and the reward was in the form of “honey tokens,” which were pieces of fried dough dusted with honey. Al-Baghdadi first identified the dish as luqmat al-qdi in the 13th century.

Greek doughnut holes are prepared by deep-frying yeasty dough and drizzling or soaking it in honey. Each moment you bite into one, the sweetness explodes in a syrupy sweet way. These delectable snacks, now routinely offered at Greek restaurants and events around the nation, were created more than 2,000 years ago.

The term “charisoi”, which translates to “charisma” in modern English, was once used to refer to loukoumades. Their more recent name is derived from the Arabic word “luqma,” which means “small bite.” It was prepared by palace chefs in the Ottoman Empire for centuries and affected by the cuisines of other former Ottoman Empire nations in the Caucasus, Middle East, and Balkans. 

Since then, the recipe for loukoumades has been passed down through Turkey, Egypt, Persia, and even Italy. As a result, zeppole and then donuts have spread throughout the world. Therefore, when you order that doughnut for your Facebook timeline, take a moment to consider where these glazed delights come from and that, when you chew into one, you’re also eating into a historical relic.

 

History of Loukoumades

They were one of the original awards given to champions of the Olympic Games, which debuted in 776 B.C., as stated by the ancient Greek poet Callimachus. The first mention of any type of pastry or dessert in literature from around the world is made by Callimachus in his works, where he refers to them as “honey tokens.” Therefore, donut holes and loukoumades are the first desserts documented in human history.

In the tale “The Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad” from “One Thousand and One Nights“, Loukoumades is also discussed. During his travels through medieval India, the adventurer and philosopher Ibn Battuta first tasted the meal he would later come to know as Luqaymat al-Qadi at a supper in Multan, where his hosts referred to it as al-Hashimi.

Today’s Olympic competitions may not give out loukoumades, but this pastry is still revered in Greece. You may visit any city in Greece anytime and discover stores selling loukoumades.

 

Visit Greco in Boston, MA Today

Our Loukoumades, which come in various flavors, is undoubtedly our favorite dessert at Greco Truly Greek. As we have mentioned, loukoumades are fried doughnuts coated with cinnamon and honey syrup and served warmly. It may occasionally have walnuts or another topping of your choice. At Greco Truly Greek, we are open to giving you the best Loukoumades you’ve ever come across – visit us today.

Favorite Greek Desserts to Try This Fall

Fall is almost upon us, and with a new season comes many new delicacies to try. In this sense, Greece has a lot of dessert ideas you can try this fall, each with its twist. Traditionally, walnuts and apples are associated with fall dessert recipes in Greece.

 

Here is a look at some of our favorite Greek desserts, some of which you can find right here in Boston MA. 

Milpitas

As discussed earlier, apples are a very important part of fall, so adding an apple-based dessert to this list was a given. Milpitas, also known as the “Greek Apple Cake,” is a famous dessert in Greece.

This is because this dessert is easy to put together compared to the other items on the list, with no need for special equipment. In addition, this dessert screams fall, with ingredients like cinnamon and cloves also used and walnuts added.

Baklava

It is impossible for baklava not to come up when discussing Greek desserts. This Phyllo and nut dessert is considered the cream of the crop in traditional desserts, and almost all of Greece knows that.

This dessert is an old classic known for its sweet and nutty flavor. The nuts used in baklava are freshly picked, and the prepared dessert is also sold in many stores.

Karidopita

As previously discussed, fall means nuts and walnuts, which is why this walnut cake is a surefire addition to the list. This cake dessert is made from finely ground walnuts which are transformed into a sort of floury texture.

The Karidopita is known for its unique texture, and it is normally topped with honey for a sweet taste as well.

Pasta Flora

Pasta Flora is a jam-based dessert that is a must-have for anyone who likes jam. This jam tart dessert is considerably easy to make, with no need to use any special equipment.

 In addition to that, this dessert has a very sweet flavor, which is enjoyed immensely by the Greek locals, along with a nice hot cup of tea to compliment that sweet-tart flavor.

Greek Style Baked Apples

Considering apples are a recurring theme for fall, it is safe to say that there will be more than one mention of an apple-based dessert on this list. Greek-style baked apples, also known as Mila Psita, are considered to be a common way to eat apples in Greece, and many traditional, earthy Greek flavors go into this dessert.

Visit Greco Today

These were just a few Greek-inspired dessert ideas you could implement to your menu this fall. There are many more desserts available that are as interesting as these and can be as easy as whisking and baking. Visit Greco at one of our locations across Boston MA today to try some of our favorites. 

Our Favorite Greek Style Donuts

At Greco in Boston, our favorite dessert without a doubt is our Greek-style donuts, called Loukoumades, which are provided in a variety of different flavors. For those not familiar with loukoumades, they are fried donuts served warm and drizzled with honey syrup and cinnamon. On occasion, it is sprinkled with walnuts or a topping of your choice. They are served throughout Greece, where the history of this donut can be traced back to BC times. 

 

The history of loukoumades roots back to the original Olympic Games. The Greeks honored the Gods and the prize came in an edible form of “honey tokens.” These honey tokens happened to be fried dough covered in honey. The Olympic games in today’s time might not award loukoumades, but in Greece, this donut is still sacred. No matter the time, you can travel anywhere in Greece cities and find shops selling loukoumades. 

 

The Origin of Loukoumades

Unlike most American donut shops, which fill the air with the scent of heavy oil, the aroma in the air when baking loukoumades is honey and cinnamon filled. The scent of Greek Loukoumades is warm and inviting, making it almost impossible to say no to. Loukoumades were known as “charisoi” (χαρίσιοι), which translates in English to “charisma”. This could be a reason that loukoumades, likely the first-ever recorded dessert, is one of the most praised desserts out there.

 

Since the invention of loukoumades during the original Olympic games, the recipe spread through Turkey, Egypt, Persia, and Italy, which led to a variety of loukoumades being made and adjusted throughout the entire world. So when you order that donut, take some time to remember where these glazed treats came from. 

 

Loukoumades in Boston, MA

At Greco in Boston, we provide our community with a variety of different loukoumades, or Greek donuts. We have a classic option, with honey, walnuts, and cinnamon that is a crowd favorite. With also have a Bougatsa option, with custard creme, phyllo, cinnamon, and powdered sugar. Yaya’s loukoumades come with hazelnut praline, oreo cookies, and powdered sugar as well. Lastly, we offer the kataifi with custard, shredded phyllo, honey, and pistachio.

 

Don’t miss out on the delicious and unique loukoumades at Greco in Boston, MA. Greco is the neighborhood we grew up in, the stories we heard while growing up, the people we loved, and we want to share our experience with you. Visit us today, or visit our website to learn more and order online! 

National Baklava Day: The History of Baklava

Baklava is the most common dessert for many Greek families. Baklava was first reported in Constantinople when Greek merchants were made aware of it. The modern-day baklava, and the variety of ways that it is consumed, has gone through numerous changes. In celebration of National Baklava Day, we will dive into the influence that various cultures have had on baklava over the years. The Greeks’ most notable contribution to baklava was the creation of a dough technique as thin as a leaf. The typical method was a more rough and bread-like dough used in other regions. The name “Phyllo”, which is the name of the dough used for baklava, was coined by Greeks and means “leaf” in Greek, taken straight from the texture itself.

 

The dessert and delicacy were perfected during the Ottoman Empire after being brought from Constantinople. The kitchens throughout the Ottoman palace became a culinary hotspot for baklava recipes, serving up the greatest renditions of Baklava to the upper-class members of society. Baklava grew from a simple pastry into a dessert to please the dignitaries. Over time, it grew into a dessert that people would bake for special occasions and family gatherings. The times have changed so much that now you can go to your local bakery and stumble upon pre-packaged baklava. 

 

Baklava Influences From Around The World

It’s undeniable that baklava was impacted by the different migration patterns in the Middle East. The region has seen many of the world’s oldest civilizations come and go, with each of them modifying the baklava to match their personal and cultural preferences. More influences to the classic baklava recipe include the Armenian influence – when they integrated cinnamon and cloves into their baklava. 

 

More influences include the Arab civilizations introducing the rose-water and orange blossom water to baklava recipes. Cooks and chefs who worked in the Ottoman palaces contributed greatly to the refinement of pastry-making. Due to the popularity of baklava among cooks and pastry chefs, pastry desserts became more accessible to the middle and lower classes towards the end of the 19th century. 

 

Other Popular Greek Desserts

One of the most common desserts besides baklava is delicious and moist Greek donuts. This delicacy comes in a variety of different flavors. Try our classic, with honey, walnuts, and cinnamon, or our Bougatsa with custard creme, phyllo dough, and powdered. We also serve a custard filled with honey and pistachio, or our personal favorite Yaya’s, with oreo cookies and powdered sugar. Visit us today to learn more!

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