Pastéli was probably the first energy bar ever made and it was made with honey. In fact, honey with dried fruits and nuts was the most common dessert in ancient Greece. Honey was consumed both as a sweetener, and as a medicine in the belief that it could promote both virility and longevity. In Greek mythology it was the food of the Gods.
Honey contains invert sugar which has the quality of providing instant energy when consumed. The composition of honey includes sugars such as glucose and fructose and also minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium, iron and phosphate. Depending on the quality of the nectar and pollen, the vitamins contained in honey are B1, B2, C, B6, B5 and B3.
Sesame seeds, our other ingredient, have been cultivated for more than 5000 years. The ancient region of Mesopotamia was the first place where it was widely cultivated and then it spread to the rest of the world. These seeds have many vitamins and minerals are rich in protein, - 25 percent by weight! Do note that sesame, like other nuts and seeds, can trigger allergic reactions in some people.
Pasteli is made all over Greece not only with sesame but also with almonds or a combination of different nuts. In some Aegean islands, pastéli wrapped in lemon leaves is offered to guests at weddings.
The recipe for pasteli is very simple and easy, but you have to be careful because hot honey can burn just as much as hot caramelized sugar.
I made about 12 (4x10x0,5cm) bars
200gr honey (any type you prefer will do)
200gr white sesame seeds
Line a baking tray with greased baking paper.
In a large dry skillet over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds lightly. Transfer them to a plate to stop the cooking process and set aside.
In the same skillet, pour the honey and over medium heat bring it to boil. As soon as the honey starts boiling add the sesame seeds all at once to the skillet and stir continuously, - for three minutes, if you prefer a soft sticky pastéli or for 5-6 min for a crunchy dry pastéli.
Immediately transfer the pastéli batter to the lined baking tray, cover with one more greased baking paper sheet and with the bottom of a small skillet press to flatten the batter.
While still warm, cut the flattened pastéli into bars. When cold, it can then be stored for many weeks in a biscuit container between several layers of wax paper.