General Information About Pastry Desserts
According to Macmillan Dictionary, pastry is a kind of food made from the combination of fat, flour and water. The dough is rolled flat to make pies and other food. The word pastry is derived from Late Middle English word ‘paste’ and influenced by the Old French ‘pastaierie’ which means the dough made by mixing flour, water and fat.
Pastry was originally made by Egyptians that consisting with flour and water and used for wrapping meat to be baked. In the 1600s, there were various types of pastry started to appear such as flaky pastry (made from many thin layers) or puff pastry (a very light mixture with air in it). Today, the more familiar pastry that we know are filo and choux that are used to make sweet pastries. Croissants or Danish are the other types of pastries made from yeast.
Kind of Greek Pastry Desserts
If you love traveling, you must have known that Greece is one of the most beautiful countries to visit. Not only because of its amazing sceneries from its beaches, city, and architecture or its history of Gods and Goddesses, this land of Gods has also its own traditional delicacies and one of them is pastry. There are at least 10 most popular Greek pastries you have to try once you visit this country:
- Skopelitiki Tiropita: A type of Greek-cheese filled and has been traditionally made on the island of Skopelos. For the filling, this pastry uses local goat milk feta cheese and olive oil locally from the area of Skopelos. Meanwhile, the dough is made from all-purpose flour, olive oil, water, salt, and vinegar.
- Pitarakia: A specialty of Milos island, this pastry has a half-moon shape filled with cheese. For the dough, it is made from the combination of flour, olive oil, vinegar/lemon juice, salt, and lukewarm water. The filling is quite simple since it only uses crumbled local cheese such as manoura that is mixed with freshly ground pepper. Other variations of Pitarakia filling is a mixture of local mizithra cheese, eggs, spearmint, and salt. A combination of finely chopped red with dry Melian cheese. There is also a sweet version of Pitarakia that uses mizithra cheese, sugar, eggs, and cinnamon as the filling.
- Hortopita: Hortopita is derived from a Greek word Horta which means wild greens or greens and Pita which means pie. The size of the pastries is varied from small and hand-held to large and round. The size itself depends on where the pastries have been made; on the islands or the mainland. The dough is simply made from phyllo while the filling is made with any combination of greens and herbs, or apart from it, crumbled cheese, eggs, and aromatic herbs. There is no set recipe for hortopita.
- Tiropita: Found in almost Greek bakery, Tiropita consists of sheets of phyllo dough with a combination of cheese (usually feta) and eggs as the filling. This dish is usually served in triangular pieces and brushed with melted butter before baking. In Greece, tiropita is mostly served in mid-morning.
- Spanakopita: A Greek spinach pie combined with a buttery in a flaky phyllo pastry that is filled with cooked spinach, lemon juice, feta cheese and sometimes dill. In the traditional way, this pie is served in small triangles, consumed when warm and accompanied by tzatziki sauce. Tzatziki sauce itself is a flavorful dip consisting of yogurt, garlic, and cucumbers.
- Samsades: A traditional Greek dessert made with phyllo dough that is rolled around nuts. Then, it is baked and drenched in sugar or honey syrup, local thyme honey or grape must (petimezi). Types of nuts usually used as filling in this sweet pastry are almonds and sesame seeds. Sometimes, walnuts are also picked and combined with cinnamon, cloves, and almond flavoring or floral water.
- Diples: Drenched or sometimes poured with a thick honey-based syrup, this tasty Greek dessert consists of thin pastry sheets that are rolled and deep-fried. The shapes are various, sprinkled with nuts and dusted with cinnamon. This type of pastry is popular on the island of Peloponnese and prepared in special events.
- Galaktoboureko: Commonly, this Greek classic pastry can be found in pastry shops and traditional pubs throughout the country. Consist of many phyllo layers, sprinkled with melted butter and accompanied by a light semolina custard, this pastry is traditionally drenched in the orange spiced, sugary syrup so the layers can absorb the flavor and transform it into a soft and pleasantly smooth treat.
- Loukoumades: This pastry gained its name from Arabic ‘luqma’ which means bite or mouthful. Initially, lokmas were served in Turkey by the sultan’s cooks in palaces of Ottoman Empire. This dish is also recorded as the oldest dessert in Greek history. The origin of lokma is debated whether it first appeared in Turkey or Greece, though some suggest Arabic origin. This internationally debated dessert is made with a mixture of flour, sugar, yeast and salt that is deeply fried and drenched in syrup or honey.
- Bougatsa: The name is derived from Ottoman word ‘pogatsa’ which denotes a filled-cheese pie. This traditional Greek pie consists of phyllo pastry layered with a filling; minced meat, cheese or semolina custard. You can find Bougatsa exclusively in shops called bougatsopolia across the country.