Showing posts with label cookies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cookies. Show all posts

Greek yogurt macaron, with a honey core

Apr 23, 2015

I often wonder what could be characterized as a typical Greek flavor in pastry; and I usually come to the conclusion that yogurt and honey make a pair that many could consider as a classically Greek. So if I make a panna cotta with Greek yogurt and honey, would people think that this Italian dessert has a Greek twist? I can’t judge but it definitely tasted good. Since I have started this ‘alchemy’ of turning famous desserts into Greek with the addition of yogurt and honey, I have discovered that French macarons lend themselves to the treatment!
The first time I ever saw macaron was five or six years ago when I started reading food blogs and came across the blog Tartelette. I remember how beautiful they looked in the pictures. Then I tried them in a pastry shop in Athens and was sure I should try making them myself. My research on the internet showed that macarons are more or less the ‘’Holy Grail’’ of every avid food blogger and I decided I needed one more cooking book, this time one specializing  on the  macaron. Pierre Herme’s ''Macarons'' proved the ideal master class on macarons since he is world famous for all those incredible and unique flavors. Pierre Herme uses the Italian meringue method which has proven to be almost foolproof in my case. 
Now I had to create a Greek yogurt ganache since I couldn’t find any reference on the internet and it turned out that it was a very good idea. The sweetness of the white chocolate is balanced by the mild sour taste of yogurt, creating a very interesting ganache but, this time, with a Greek character.

Koulourákia - Easter cookies

Apr 15, 2014


Whereas Christmas is celebrated in Greece in much the same way as it is globally (Christmas trees,presents, blinking lights, stuffed turkey), Easter is, for us, a unique feast  of special foods, traditions ,and most of all, huge, noisy, and long anticipated family gatherings. 
Sweet breads flavored with mastic (tsourekia) and Easter cookies, (koulourákia) are the most popular treats every housewife makes annually for the family and to give away to friends. Of course everyone has this or her own recipe for those special treats. Well, almost everyone did, because in my home town we all shared the same ‘’secret” recipe. It was very common in small towns during the 80’s and 90’s, before the big super markets arrived, to buy all food supplies from the local grocer. So, during  the week leading up to Easter, we would simply ask for the ingredients needed to make 3-4 kilos of Easter cookies.
 Home produced eggs and milk were used if available but the exact quantity of the other ingredients for the recipe like fresh butter, sugar, vanilla and special cookies flour were known  by the grocer and handed out according to the kilos required in each case. 
We became so attached to that recipe which was followed during all of  my childhood years, that before the store owner retired, we made sure to get that foolproof recipe written down and have used it ever since.

Amygdalotá - almond meal, gluten free cookies

Mar 1, 2014


  Almond based confections or amygdalotá (αμυγδαλωτά) as we call them are found all over Greece in endless versions. They can be shaped like pears, balls, or little logs and are usually flavored with scented flower blossom water,  a liquor or, less often, with vanilla.  They are often sold filled with jam or chocolate ganache  and resemble French macarons.
Amygdalotá in many Aegean islands are a special little treat symbolizing happiness and prosperity  and offered to guests  at weddings and Christenings,. 
The version of amygdalotá I made today is found in pastry shops all over the country. They are plainer than the filled versions and made with a higher ratio of almond meal.

Paximádia portokaliou - orange and olive oil vegan biscotti

Jan 27, 2014


   Baking slices of bread twice has always been a popular method to expand the life of fresh bread. Nomads, fishermen, -  anyone away from home with no means to get fresh bread, could use  the dry, twice-baked  slices of bread by rehydrating  it (often with wine in Greece) and in this way have a filling meal or snack.
 In Greece we still use a lot of twice-baked slices of bread which we call paximádia (παξιμάδια). These are mostly made with wheat flour, corn polenta, or even barley. In Crete they are called cos (ντάκος). Mostly served as an appetizer, paximádia are often topped with finely chopped tomato and feta, or crushed in salads for taste and texture. 
Sweet paximadia, made from lightly sweetened dough, with olive oil and citrus zest, is a vegan version similar to the Italian biscotti. It is a healthy cookie for morning coffee, and an always available homemade treat for guests.