There are so many options to consider if you want to taste the best authentic Greek desserts. You might need to visit Greece for most of them. But the following selection of sweet treats can be sampled anywhere around the world.
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These snake-shaped pastries are normally made only once per year in Greece, right before Easter. They are normally made at home during the Holy Saturday and they can be turned to delicious treats with additions such as vanilla, sugar, and extra-fine butter.
Since desserts tend to last a few days, they can also be consumed with other foods. They can be served at breakfast even if some Greeks simply enjoy the sweet treats with tea or coffee throughout the day.
You might have seen kourabiedes in coffee shops before without even knowing it. You can recognize these tasty desserts by their powdered sugar. The round shortbreads are normally made with flour and ground almonds.
Flavoring is added according to preference or according to the part of Greece, they come from. Vanilla is a common ingredient largely used for these shortbreads even if syrups or brands can be added to the butter to add a bit of flavor as well.
This light dessert is normally served in the family, on Sunday according to tradition. It only uses phyllo pastry with various filling, cream, and syrup. Resembling a custard pie, it goes in the oven until the milk crème and pastry are ready. After taking it out of the oven, it is topped with vanilla cream, honey, or jam and served cold or at room temperature.
Kadayifi is similar to baklava, but they’re normally served on Christmas. You can easily recognize this dessert by its shredded pastry that goes on top and which adds crispiness to each bite. Normally seasoned with almonds, this dessert is a true Greek traditional pastry with a very sweet punch. You may also find variants that are made with chopped almonds and which help give it a different texture. It’s also the type of dessert you can freely serve with honey or syrup.
Known as the ‘Greek apple pie’, milopita is made across the country all year round. This dessert is best with black coffee and it represents one of the most versatile Greek treats you can also make yourself.
It stands out with its simple profile with fresh baked apples which are easily seasoned with cinnamon. You can also add almonds which seem to be present in most Greek desserts. Over the past few years, dried fruits such as plums have also been added to this rich juicy pie.
Based on the omnipresent phyllo, this tasty dessert is normally topped with slices of orange. Even its tasty filling is made with Greek yogurt and orange zest. Once fully baked, the desert is served with very sweet syrup, which balances the orange taste of the treat.
Semolina and dried fruit can be added to the dessert as well. It’s up to you to add your own fruits to the dessert as it can be easily assorted with all types of sweets.
Rizogalo is now seen across the world, especially in Greek cafes. It’s the type of dessert that parents used to make for the little ones in Greece. Most Westerners trying it normally compare it to rice pudding.
Making Rizogalo at home is also easy. You need a small pot where you let the rice boil. You then add vanilla flavoring, cinnamon, orange zest, and fresh milk allowing the mixture to settle and the rice to become creamy, more so than in a risotto. The desert can be served warm as it is or you can add pieces of fruit or canned fruit or add it to the fridge to serve for breakfast.
Halva can be made at home or purchased in large supermarkets. It’s a traditional Greek dessert also tied to religious customs and holidays. It is served during fasting periods as its vegetarian. Most Greeks eat it during the Easter fast which lasts 40 days.
The desert is filling and its rarely consumed in large quantities. Popular versions of this dessert include tahini halva. If you’re making halva at home, you can also consider adding various types of nuts, seeds, or almonds to the halva, which are also good sources of protein if you’re staying away from meats and dairy.
2. Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt is a popular dessert across the world. This type of thick yogurt is packed with protein and Calcium, being one of the few truly healthy treats on the list. As with any type of yogurt, its versatility is very high.
You can make Greek yogurt at home by adding all types of ingredients from cinnamon to almonds or sunflower seeds. Some people prefer to add cereal as it might keep the cost of the dessert lower by comparison. Fresh fruits are another inspired addition to Greek yogurt, particularly strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries.
Greek yogurt can also be mixed with rizogalo. The combination of desserts offers a combined boost of carbohydrates and protein, which gives you energy for the rest of the day when consumed early in the morning.
There are hundreds of baklava recipes and you should try them all. This small sweet dessert is normally served with tea or coffee and it can easily be found around the world. But you can also make your own fresh aklava at home.
All you need are a few layers of phyllo pastry which you then fill with a mixture of almonds or pistachio. Then you top it with other layers of phyllo and add it to the oven. Once the pastry is done, you add syrup or honey to the baklava which you can serve hot. A secret to making the baklava even tastier is to add butter on top before adding to the oven. The melting butter is what makes the phyllo even tastier.