Saturday, June 23, 2012

Interesting Facts About Greek Desserts

What makes YaYa's desserts so scrumptious?  It's years of experience and family tradition - coupled with some little-known trivia.

1. Ancient Greeks used Honey instead of sugar because sugar as we know it did not exist in Greece.

2. What sets Greek desserts apart is their eastern influence. Whereas western desserts are more sponge and cream based, the Greek sweets are sugar based. Many include fillo pastry, which is paper thin sheets of pastry, layered upon each other to create a multi-layered effect, as in baklava. With many nuts - such as walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts and almonds being in abundance in Greece, it is no surprise to see these nuts used widely in their desserts. Once the dessert is baked, it is drenched in a sweet aromatic honey syrup, as in walnut cake - Karythopita. Apart from the beautiful flavors it infuses, the syrup helps to preserve the dessert.

3. Although Americans call these 'desserts' - Greeks refer to them as sweets - they are generally not eaten after a meal as we would in other western countries. In Greece dessert is rarely eaten after a meal and if so it is most likely to be whichever fruit is in season. Rather, desserts are kept and brought out during the day, along with a Greek coffee and a glass of iced water, especially when there is a visitor. In this way the sweets can be savored and enjoyed completely on their own, away from the fullness of a meal, which is fitting since they are in themselves very filling and a truly sensational taste.

The next time you’re looking to share a coffee and a sweet with a friend, skip the standard drive through your friend to Ziziki’s.

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