Greek desserts are a mouthful in more ways than one. First, they are all pretty substantial, very sweet, and most of them a really filling… My Big Fat Greek Dessert? Sounds like the movie for me. Secondly, some of them are super hard to pronounce. I’ve included the English version for you here. The last thing you need to do is feel embarrassed when you try to tell your dinner guests what you’ve expertly assembled.
Desserts from Greece are packed full of delicious (and sometimes exotic) flavors making them ideal to wow a crowd. To make life easy for you, I’ve assembled a list of 15 Greek desserts that will leave you looking like a Greek goddess in the kitchen!
Top Easy Greek Desserts
This is an iconic dessert with its roots firmly in the Mediterranean. As to where in the Mediterranean, that is up for debate. Greece, Turkey, and even sections of the Middle East dispute over who invented it to this day. In case you weren’t aware, Baklava is amazing. The dessert’s basis is thin layers of flaky pastry that sandwiches a mixture of honey, rosewater, and chopped pistachio nuts. It’s like a super sweet danish.
Although it sounds light, I’d like to make you a little bet, see if you can eat more than two squares of Baklava in a single sitting. It is super-rich!
2. Greek Honey Pie
There are plenty of Greek desserts that use honey as a primary ingredient. We don’t know why honey tastes so good in Greece. It must be the sunshine and spring flowers! The official name for this dessert is Melopita, but honey pie sounds much more appetizing. The word ‘pie’ doesn’t really do it justice. It is actually a kind of cake that features other ingredients like cheese. Cheese and honey go together remarkably well, give this recipe a try and see for yourself.
3. Yiaoutorpita Cake
If you have never tried authentic Greek yogurt, then you are in for a real treat. It’s about as thick and creamy as it gets. Aside from being super tasty on its own, you’ll also find that it works great in cakes. Just replace the milk with yogurt, and your cakes will end up super fluffy. This yellow-pound cake is delicious on its own, but you can serve it with several sides. It soaks up cream amazingly well, and with a couple of chopped strawberries on the side, is heavenly.
4. Saint Fanourios Cake
This is a recipe that you won’t want to lose! Saint Fanourios is the patron saint of lost things. This cake is named after them. This cake is dense and really moist. It replaces the traditional butter with a large helping of olive oil, good for taste, bad for the waist. Within, you’ll find elements of chocolate, cinnamon, cloves, and delicious crunchy sesame seeds. We like to top ours with a little powder sugar. While this cake is traditionally baked in August, we find that it has a little bit of a Christmas vibe.
5. Greek Easter Cookies
Now don’t get me wrong, normally I like my cookies sweet. However, these Greek cookies are like a mixture between bread and cookies. One thing is for certain, a couple of these, and you will be full until dinner. Provided that you bake them right, they should have a crisp exterior that gives way to a soft doughy interior. They are also just a little sour due to the inclusion of baking soda and orange juice. How you serve them is up to you. We like to tear chunks off and serve them with a chocolate spread like Nutella.
6. Greek Almond Cookies
As simple cookie recipes go, this one is great. The taste and smell of baked almonds wafting around your kitchen are enough to make these cookies worth baking. They are like a cross between macaroons and regular cookies. If you nail the baking time, you can expect something that is both chewy and crispy at the same time. The best bit is that they are completely flourless, relying on powdered almonds to take the flour’s place, which adds even more to the flavor.
There are so many desserts that focus on religious festivals in Greece. Now you know why they have so many! This Greek Easter bread is packed with sweet spices that will make your kitchen smell divine. The bread is shaped in a kind of braid. Each strand of the braid is meant to symbolize different elements of the holy trinity. It is a yeast recipe, which means that you won’t be able to whip up a batch in 30 minutes, but it is worth spending a little time to get it right as a day project.
8. Orange Semolina Cake
Traditionally semolina can be a little bit tricky. It can end up heavy, not so in this recipe as it is made from a different kind of wheat. This bright yellow pound cake fits perfectly with the idea of sunny Greek days. Traditionally it is topped with a thin layer of sweetened yogurt and pistachio nuts. If you want it even sweeter, add a drop (or pour) of runny honey.
9. Greek Christmas Cookies
These buttery biscuit cookies are something that you won’t be able to eat only one of. I tend to make double the portion as they seem to reduce in number every time I leave the kitchen. The main flavor is complimented by hints of rose water that features in the recipe.
This gives these delicious powdered cookies a slightly fragrant perfume. If you want a naughty little version, the recipe relies on one of Greece’s most famous exports… Ouzo, a Greek ‘firewater’ that has strong aniseed notes.
Donut recipes feature heavily all around the Mediterranean. In Spain, you have churros, head east, and you’ll find Loukomadies. These little donuts look a little like profiteroles, except they are deep-fried before being showered in delicious syrup and chopped nuts. Provided you get your oil nice and hot (this isn’t one to make with the kids), you should end up with a light, fluffy donut. Do you know why I like light and fluffy desserts? I get to eat more!
Now, we know it is Greek, but don’t confuse milopita with melopita. As they are two different things. This is a spiced apple cake. If Starbucks could pronounce it, they’d probably sell it. It features all of those good things that we love in fruit cake. Chopped nuts, juicy raisins, all topped with the proven flavor combo of apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon. It’s a home-baked apple pie, and a cake all rolled into one.
12. Revani Cake
Have you ever served cream with a cake and watched it soak into the sponge? Well, this is how Revani works. This cake is light, airy, and great at mopping up flavors. The greeks like to soak it in syrup. The best thing about this cake is that it is very hard to mess up or overbake as you are soaking it. If it is a little dry, just add more syrup!
The authentic way to make Revani cake is to cover it in syrup hot out of the oven to ensure maximum soaking up effect. For an adult version, we infuse some Cointreau with the syrup, orange Revani Cake? Yes, please!
13. Greek Cheesecake
Three’s a little rumor going around that cheesecake may have been invented in Greece. After the battle over Baklava, I’m not getting involved. A Greek cheesecake is a no-bake recipe. Only the base of the cheesecake is cooked. What makes it ‘Greek’ is the inclusion of yogurt as part of the filling. When it is combined with cream cheese, you get a slightly looser dessert. We love looser. It means it’s definitely creamier! The cake is finished with a topping of jam or jelly.
14. Jam Tart
As you’ll already know, it is hot in Greece. This dessert is designed to last a long while in the open air without spoiling. In fact, we like it better when the jam topping has solidified slightly. What makes this tart special is the latticed top. It is really eye-catching and will have oohs and ahs from around the table when you serve it. It’s actually really simple to make.
15. Greek Honey Cookies
We cant have a list of Greek desserts without featuring honey one more time. The official name for these cookies is Melomakarona… Say that after a few glasses of Ouzo? If you were to translate the name, it means ‘blessed honey”. The key to this recipe is to use semolina flour. This gives you a really crisp and crumbly cookie. The cookies rely on oil instead of butter, so they are a little ‘short’, but we don’t mind. They work really well when dipped into a frothy coffee.
So there we have it, 15 greek desserts. You’ll see that honey and semolina feature heavily in Greek dessert recipes. Most can be whipped up in under an hour, and they keep well too, so make a decent-sized portion and taste Ambrosia (the food of the Greek Gods) for days. Have I missed any on my list? Drop me a comment, and I’ll see about adding it.