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What Are the Different Types of Greek Pastries?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated May 16, 2024
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One common type of Greek pastry is baklava, which is made from phyllo dough and topped with nuts, honey and orange essence. Greek pastries can be served at every meal, including custard-filled bougatsa for breakfast and spinach and feta cheese-filled spanakopita for lunch. There are also several types of Greek pastries traditionally made for holiday celebrations, including the Easter treats tsoureki and koulourakia.

Greek pastries include many types of cookies and often use butter instead of the more traditional olive oil. Biscotti is a crisp, anise-flavored cookie that features nuts or chocolate. It is baked twice to dry out the cookies, and the longer it is baked, the harder the cookie gets. Melomakarona features a common Greek flavor derived from cinnamon, walnuts and honey. What sets the pastry apart from the rest is that the cookies are dipped into a honey and syrup mixture before serving. Anisette toast is made from biscotti, and it is typically enjoyed dunked in coffee.

Also common among Greek pastries is tsoureki, which is a traditional braided Easter bread served in Greece. It is often decorated by placing red-dyed eggs in the braids. Koulourakia is also a traditional Easter treat. The ring-shaped, butter cookies have a hint of vanilla flavoring and are topped with an egg glaze and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Walnuts and sweet honey add flavor to baklava, which is made from multiple layers of phyllo dough. Spanakopita is also made from phyllo dough. The dough is cut into triangles, then filled with onions, spinach and feta cheese. Other Greek pastries made with buttered phyllo layers include tyropitas. The triangle and semicircular shapes are typically filled with an egg and cheese mixture.

Many Greek pastries are baked. Kourambiedes is made from a dough infused with almonds. It is baked and then dusted with powdered sugar. Bougatsa is made with phyllo dough and filled with custard and baked. It is served warm, dusted with cinnamon and powdered sugar.

Some types of Greek pastries are fried in oil. Loukoumades are cinnamon and honey fritters. They are made with yeast and take about two hours to rise and then are deep fried. They are served warm, topped with honey and cinnamon. Theeples are also known as sweet, fried bow knots. They are cut into triangles and deep fried, then topped with honey syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon and walnuts.

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Discussion Comments
By SteamLouis — On Dec 18, 2013

I like those spinach filled Greek pastries made with phyllo dough. I think that many different types of pastries can be made with those phyllo sheets, because one can fill it with anything.

So far, I've only had the spinach filled pastries and the feta cheese filled pastries and they were both very good. I would like to try it with something sweet next time.

Greek anise cookies also sound very good. I wonder if they're hard to make.

By ddljohn — On Dec 18, 2013

@fBoyle-- When you pour the honey-sugar syrup on the pastry, don't cover it completely. Leave the top half of the pastry without syrup. This way, the bottom half will be soft and the top will remain crispy.

Also, since the pastry is hot, the syrup should be cold when you're pouring it. So make the syrup beforehand and leave it to cool before baking the pastry.

I love baklava, it's delicious. But I don't make it often because it has a lot of sugar.

By fBoyle — On Dec 18, 2013

Does anyone have any tips for making great baklava?

I made a tray of it a few weeks ago. It tasted good but it wasn't crispy like I expected it to be. It was kind of soft and mushy, especially the second and third day.

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