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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 31 October 2015
12 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 31 OCTOBER 2015 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Soak it in syr Siropiasta are the sweetest sin you could ever dream of committing ZOE THOMAÚDOU The tradition of syrup-soaked pastries and cakes might have originated in the Middle East, but fortunately enough it surpassed geographical boundaries throughout the years and made its way into our cuisine. In Greece, when we refer to whole-pan sweets (glyka tou tapsiou), we usually mean anything baked and later drenched in syrup, and sometimes even perfumed with orange Baklava While considered one of the most typical Turkish sweets, many claim that it has its preOttoman roots in Byzantine or Persian cuisine. Its history may not be well-documented in books, but once you try it the memory of its flavour is imprinted in your mind, and that’s really all that matters in the end. Ingredients 3 cups water 3 cups sugar 1 packet filo pastry 250g unsalted butter, melted 250g ground pistachios Method 1. Mix together the water and sugar in a large saucepan over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Simmer for 30 minutes to reduce to a syrup. Allow to cool. 2. Meanwhile, divide the filo in half and cut into sheets to fit a pastry tin (ideally about 30x20cm). Brush the bottom of the tin with melted butter and cover with a sheet of filo pastry. Continue until you have used half the pastry. 3. Cover with a thick layer of crushed pistachios and continue the pastry and butter process until the pastry is finished. 4. Score through the pastry layers carefully, making diamond shapes, about 5-6 cm long. 5. Bake in a moderate oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. While still hot, pour over the cooled syrup and set aside to cool before removing from the tray. flower water, rosewater or an aromatic spice. A small cup of sugarless Greek coffee (sketo) and a tall glass of icecold water is the ideal complement to the rich flavour of these sweets. Some of the best known ambrosial desserts of this kind are baklava, galaktoboureko, kataifi, revani and karythopita. Even though baklava is a Turkish word, the actual sweet is omnipresent in the Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and pre- Ottoman Empire region, and this is probably why many countries claim to have been the first to spread the sweet word. Greek American historian Speros Vrionis had claimed that baklava's predecessor is ‘kopti’, a sweet treat traced back to the Byzantine era. Meanwhile, in 2013, Gaziantep, a city in Turkey situated less than 100 km away from Syria’s Aleppo, famous for its baklava, had the local dessert registered as a product of protected designation of origin by the European Commission. As has happened with almost every aspect of modern Greek culinary culture, siropiasta became widely known to the mainland with the arrival of refugees from Asia Minor. Especially for the Greeks of Constantinople, siropiasta Touloubakia (syrup-dipped fried cakes) These divine small cakes with golden syrup melt in your mouth with every bite Ingredients 2 cups of all purpose flour 1/3 cup of potato flour (potato starch) 1 1/2 cups of cold water 6 eggs 1 3/4 cups olive oil pinch of salt 2 teaspoons of sugar For the syrup: 5 cups of sugar 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice 3 cups of water Method 1. In a saucepan, combine the syrup ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Boil for two minutes and set aside to cool. 2. In a large saucepan or pot, melt the butter over medium heat. When it is thoroughly melted (not brown), stir in the water, salt and sugar, and bring to a boil. Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or wire whisk, add the flour 1/2 cup at a time. 3. Continue to stir briskly and cook for 10 minutes longer. Remove from heat and allow to cool for five minutes. Stir in the eggs one at a time, whisking briskly to prevent them from cooking, and then stir in the potato flour until thoroughly blended. 4. Heat oil in a 25cm frying pan. Using a pastry bag and large tube (star, serrated, or plain), squeeze out pieces of dough, about 5-7 cm long and 3-5 cm wide, into the oil. Shake the frying pan gently during cooking to prevent sticking. Fry until golden brown on all sides. (Alternatively, use a heaped teaspoon of dough for each piece.) Remove with a slotted spoon, and place immediately in cooled syrup for 15 minutes. Place on serving dish, and allow to cool before serving. sweets were found in every household and served as a treat to friends who visited. Among the ports that received the biggest flow of refugees who fled Turkey after 1922 was the Macedonian city of Thessaloniki. The influence of Middle Eastern pastry making became so vivid there that locals nicknamed the city ‘Glykomana’, a term that literately translates to ‘sweet mother’. Today, Thessaloniki and other nearby cities are renowned for their siropiasta tradition, and one can often see people lining up outside the most famous sweet shops to taste their specialties. In fact, the Hohliouros shop in Veroia, in central Macedonia, has become extremely popular by selling nothing but squares Floyeres (custard flutes) Floyeres - which means flutes in Greek - are basically rolled baklava fingers. You can experiment and add pistachios or walnuts to give the recipe a different touch Ingredients 6 egg yolks 1 cup sugar 1 cup regular uncooked farina 6 cups scalded milk 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 12 filo sheets 2 sticks (225g) unsalted butter, melted, for brushing filo For the syrup: 4 cups sugar 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 2 cups water Method 1. Preheat oven to 180°C. 2. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with sugar. Add farina and mix well. Slowly stir in scalded milk and lemon peel or vanilla extract. Return mixture to pot and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens, about 15 minutes. Cool. 3. Cut sheets of filo pastry in half. Brush each piece evenly with melted butter and fold in half. 4. Place one tablespoon of filling at one end and fold edges toward middle. Butter and roll up each piece. Place on an ungreased baking pan; brush with melted butter. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden. 5. Combine all syrup ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 15 minutes. 6. Cool the syrup before pouring over the hot custard flutes.
24 October 2015
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