Yiasou Greek Festival


Baklava

  • 1 lb. walnut meats, or almonds, ground
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 lb. fila
  • 1 lb. butter, melted and clarified
  • Whole cloves (optional)
  • Syrup

Combine coarsely ground walnuts with sugar and cinnamon. Set aside. Line bottom of butter pan, 9" x 12" with 10 to 12 fila, brushing each with melted butter. Sprinkle with thin layer of nut mixture. Cover with 3 fila, brushing each with melted butter. Sprinkle more nut mixture and repeat process until all nut mixture is used. Then cover with 4 fila and cover with remaining butter. Chill 25 minutes. Cut pastry into small diamond shapes. Brush again with melted butter. Insert whole cloves in center of each piece. Bake in slow oven 325 degrees for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. When slightly browned, remove from oven; slowly pour enough cooled syrup over hot Baklava until completely absorbed.

Syrup

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 cup honey
  • Combine sugar, water, and lemon juice. Boil 10 minutes. Slowly add honey and simmer 5 minutes.

When placing bottom fila in pan, allow 2 or 3 fila to overhang slightly over sides of pan, brushing edges with butter. Cut remaining fila to size of pan; continue as directed in recipe until last row of nuts is in place. Fold extended fila into pan, brushing top with butter. Finish with remaining fila as directed.

To bake, place Baklava in lower third of oven during first half of baking time, then place on middle rack. If pastry browns too soon, cover loosely with brown paper or tinfoil; finish baking. Before pouring syrup over Baklava; pastry should be hot and syrup cold. Pour slowly until enough syrup is absorbed. Some syrup may remain. When completely cooled, cover pan with tinfoil. (NEVER use plastic wrap as it softens crust.) Allow to stand 24 hours before cutting again and removing pieces from pan.

To clarify butter: Heat butter in saucepan until bubbly. Skim salty foam from surface to clear butter. Discard foam.

How to handle fila: To defrost, leave box of fila in refrigerator overnight or at room temperature 1 hour. Never allow fila to be exposed to air. Unfold package of fila, place on waxed paper. Cover with more waxed paper and damp dish towel to prevent fila from drying and cracking while preparing pastry.

Kourambiedes

  • 1 lb. sweet butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 jigger whiskey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 6 tbs. toasted almonds, chopped fine
  • 4 cups sifted flour
  • 3 cups sifted confectioner's sugar

Beat butter and sugar until creamy, about 15 minutes. Add egg yolk, flavorings and almonds, beating until well blended. Remove from beater and gradually add sifted flour to make a soft dough.

Pinch off pieces of dough and shape carefully into various designs - crescent, round, etc. Place on ungreased cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until very lightly browned. Allow to cool slightly before removing from baking sheet. Carefully place on flat surface, which was been sprinkled with confectioner's sugar. Sprinkle confectioner's sugar over cookies. Cool. Makes 5 dozen.

Koulourakia

  • 1 1/2 cups butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 1/2 cups sifted flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 4 tbs. water
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy in electric mixer. Beat in eggs and flavorings. Add water to mixture together with remaining flour. Knead slightly. Pinch off pieces of dough and roll into pencil-thin strips about 6 inches long, fold in half and twist into a rope. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds or decorate with cherries, nuts or colored sugar. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes about 7 dozen.

Baked Halva

  • 1/2 lb. butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped almonds
  • 2 cups cream of wheat
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Cream butter and sugar with electric mixer for 15 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, folding in stiffly beaten egg whites last. Pour into 9" x 13" greased baking pan. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cut in squares. Top with warm syrup before halva cools. Cover and let stand until syrup is absorbed. Makes 35 squares.

Syrup

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tbs. lemon juice
  • Boil sugar, water and lemon juice together for 2 minutes; remove from heat. (Syrup will be very thin.)

Loukoumades

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/4 cups sifted flour
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 tbs. sugar
  • 4 heaping tsp. baking powder
  • Oil for frying

Beat eggs until light and fluffy. Mix in remaining ingredients, adding baking powder last. Drop by scant teaspoonfuls into hot oil. Cook until golden brown. Serve hot with syrup, cinnamon, nuts or toasted sesame seeds. Makes about 50.

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 tbs. honey
  • Boil sugar and water together to make a medium syrup. Add honey and blend well.

Karithata

  • 1/2 lb. butter
  • 9 tsp. confectioner's sugar
  • 2 tbs. ice water
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 cups flour

Beat butter with sugar for 15 minutes. Add water, vanilla, pecans and sifted flour. Knead slightly. Shape with cookie cutter. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet in oven at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. Cookies will be firm and slightly browned. Remove from pan and place on clean surface which has been sprinkled with confectioner's sugar. Sprinkle confectioner's sugar over cookies. Allow to cool. Makes about 30.