There is no better time to enjoy the unique cuisine of Greece than during the holidays. There are some especially delicious desserts and pastries that can be found in Greek cooking, many of which are most commonly enjoyed at Christmastime. Here are six of the top authentic Greek desserts that you can enjoy this Christmas:
This classic Greek dessert is a simple almond biscuit made with butter, flour, and sugar. Because they are easy to make, they can be enjoyed at any time of the year. Typically, this cookie is associated with celebratory occasions such as holiday feasts, weddings, and Christenings. The sweet cookies can also be flavored with vanilla for an added layer of taste. They are rolled in powdered sugar after they baked to a golden brown.
As the most popular Greek Christmas cookie, you are likely to find a platter of melamakarona on the tables of every home in Greece during the holiday season. This cookie is often described as a cross between baklava and pecan pie. The prominent flavor in this treat is honey. The dairy-free cookie also has a holiday spice profile to make it especially festive. The cookies are topped with cinnamon and crushed walnuts, delivering a slightly crunchy texture to complement the gooeyness of the treat.
Although this Greek delicacy is typically made for the Easter holiday, many families also enjoy it during the Christmas season. Hailing from the ancient Minoan civilization, the pastry is heavy on butter and features an egg glaze on top along with a distinguishing sprinkle of sesame seeds. The dessert is usually hand-shaped to form twisted wreaths, snakes, or letters of the Greek alphabet.
This sweet Christmas bread is a staple at many Greek Christmas meals. Christopsomo translates to “Christ’s bread” and is a holy tradition in many homes around the nation. Bakers pour love and care into the making of this sacred bread, using only the best and most pure ingredients in its making. It is a Greek tradition for families to make the bread on Christmas Eve and eat it on Christmas Day to bring good fortune and blessings to the family.
This unique dessert consists of semolina custard wrapped in phyllo and baked together. The custard is usually flavored with orange, lemon, or rose before being wrapped in the delicate pastry crust. The pastry dessert can be baked in one pan and cut into square portions or rolled into individual serving sizes.
The granddaddy of all Greek desserts, it is no surprise that baklava is also particularly popular during the holidays. Flaky phyllo dough is stuffed with cinnamon and walnuts and then brushed with butter and drizzled with sugar and honey to create a classic dessert masterpiece. While there are many steps in the baking process, it is a relatively simple dessert to make.
These desserts represent the sweet and delicate flavors of Greek cuisine, bringing together varied regions of Greece as they enjoy the spirit of the Christmas season. Although many of these are served year-round, such as baklava and kourabedies, they are also very common at Christmas.