An Autumn classic ~ Mustopita ~ Μουστόπιτα

October 1st, 2018 § 0

Autumn means the smell of grape must, mustopita, which is an annual ritual dessert for our family!

(I revamped this recipe, that was originally posted on 14/10/2011.)

Grape is native to the Aegean region and its juice sometimes called as nectar of the gods.

The traditional mustopita (μουστόπιτα) or mustoalevria (μυστοαλευριά) recipe has wood ash in it. When I first heard that wood ash is used while making grape paste, I was astonished. But very interestingly, wood ash set offs the taste, makes the pudding more sweet, gives a distinctive flavour. Also wood ash neutralizes the grape must’s acidity.

This made me search the contents of a wood ash. I found out that soda and cream of tartar have a similar effect (but never the same delectable taste of a wood ash).

It is known from the ancient times that, wood ash is rich in potassium and it is an antibacterial.

  • 1 lt freshly blended grape juice
  • 2 T fireplace wood ash (clean and pure wood ash – no paper or other materials/additions)
  • cheesecloth
  • 4 T flour
  • walnut (cut in big pieces)
  • cinnamon

Prepare the grapes (2 kg) by removing the stems. Wash and drain. Put them in a juicer or a blender and juice the fruit. 2 kg of grapes, approximately make 1 lt of grape juice.

Pour the grape juice in a pot.

Place the ash in a cheesecloth. Make the cheesecloth triple folded and bring the four corners together to make a knot.

Tie up the ash packed cheesecloth to a wooden spoon. Swing the wooden spoon into the grape juice pot and bring to boil.

When it comes to a full boil, remove the cheesecloth and set aside. Allow to rest overnight or at least 6 hours, to cool slowly.

Cover the sieve with a clean cheescloth and filter (strain) the grape juice.

Cook the filtered juice by stirring constantly over low heat until it boils.

At the same time, take 4-5 T. of grape juice in a separate bowl. Add 4 T. flour in it and beat until the flour dissolves to make a paste.

Then combine the paste to the simmering grape juice and stir well all together occasionally.

After about half an hour, the mixture begins to thicken. Skim off excess foam.

Add coarsely chopped walnuts. Rinse serving cups with cold water and pour the thick mustopita into them. It will thicken more as it cools.

Decorate with extra walnut on top. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Koliva ~ wheat berry memorial dessert (κόλλυβα)

June 14th, 2018 § 0

This food is made to remember those who have passed and treated to all in attendance to the memorial. It is made primarily of wheat berry, which symbolizes life and regeneration. Like wheat, people are buried in order to grow and have a new life. It is a fine way to honour the deceased with the food of life.

Koliva has a soft gravel like texture and served in a large tray, spooned out into cups or on small plates.

The nutritious dessert koliva, has high in fiber and provides iron and protein.

For preperation, it requires time, patience and care.

  • 1 cup wheat berries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup roasted yellow chickpeas (sarı leblebi in Turkish) (powdered with food processor)
  • 1/2 cup petit-beurre biscuits (powdered with food processor)
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (coarsely chopped)
  • 2 T. currants (washed and soaked)
  • 1 T. cinnamon powder
  • 1 t. carnation powder
  • For topping:

  • 300 gr powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • dragees (optional)
  • de-seeded pomegranate (optional as is not always in season)
  • Rinse the wheat berries and place them in a large saucepan. Put in water and soak overnight.

    Add enough water to the pressure cooker and bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the wheat berries are tender and beginning to split but not mushy.

    Drain in the strainer to cool.

    Cover an oven tray with a clean towel and spread the wheat berries in pieces on the towel for at least 4-5 hours.

    Boil the almonds for about 5-10 minutes, in order to remove the skins. Once they are peeled, pop them into a bowl of cold water with a little lemon juice to keep them nice and white.

    Then toast the almonds, walnuts and sesame seeds and allow to cool in separate bowls.

    Place the drained wheat berries in a large mixing bowl. Add the sesame seeds, sugar, powdered roasted chickpeas, powdered petit-beurres, coarsely chopped walnuts, cinnamon, carnation and drained currants. Toss it all together.

    Transfer the mixture to a large platter or tray.

    Sift the powdered sugar over the top to coat it thickly, almost like a frosting.

    Decorate the top with the whole almonds and the dragees.

    The wheat berries can ferment if left at room temperature overnight and the sugar can crystallize in a moist environment.

    For that reason, if left by chance, cover and store refrigerated.

    Stewed cherry with chocolate mousse

    June 27th, 2014 § 0

    It is cherry season in Aegean region.

    June is the peak season for harvesting cherries and the markets are full of beautiful plump cherries.

    This is a simple cherry compote with chocolate mousse to enjoy!

    • 700 gr cherries
    • 90 gr sugar
    • 1/2 cup Sherry (preferebly Kirsch)
    • 200 gr good quality dark chocolate (70% cacao)
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 t ground black peppercorns

    Wash the cherries. Stone them with a cherry pitter. While stoning, keep the juice into a pan.

    Put the cherry and its juice into a wide pan.

    Add sugar and black peppercorns. Bring to a boil, let stand for 10 minutes. Add Sherry (kirschwasser) and boil for another 5 minutes.

    Take out the peppercorns and let it cool.

    Melt the bittersweet chocolate with bain-marie method, or simply put water in a thick bottom pan. Inside this pan place another pan with the couverture chocolate.

    Beat egg whites in a small deep bowl and make stiff.

    Beat egg yolks with chocolate well.

    Fold the egg whites to the chocolate batter.

    Use a spatula and mix them well. Refrigerate for 4 hours.

    In a serving glass share the stewed cherries.

    On top, place the chocolate mousse and serve immediately.

    Honey rolls ~Diples (δίπλες )

    December 25th, 2013 § 0

    Diples (??????) meaning fold in Greek, is a typical deep fried festive dessert, around Christmas period.

    In Crete it is called (??????????) kserotigana~dry fried. Different from Greece, these fried pastry ribbons generally made for weddings and 6th of January in Crete.

    The very similar dessert, which is called chiacchiere can be found in Italy, during the Carnival time.

    Diples usually has the shape of a roll, sometimes a bow, made of a thin sheet dough, drizzled with honey syrup and garnished with chopped walnuts.

    • 2 eggs
    • 3 cups of flour
    • 1/4 cup Rakı or Ouzo
    • 3 T lemon juice
    • 3 T extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 t sugar
    • a pinch of salt
    • olive oil for frying

    In a bowl, beat the eggs with sugar for about 10 minutes.

    Add liquour (Rakı) and olive oil and mix well. Add lemon juice until incorporated.

    Add flour and mix with your hands. Knead until you get a smooth dough.

    Cover with a plastic wrap and let it rest for one hour.

    Put the dough in a floured surface. At his point you can use your pasta machine or using a rolling pin,

    roll out the dough into thin rectangle pieces of approx.15×25 cm.

    Heat the oil in a deep frying pan.

    You will need two forks to fold the sheet of dough to make a rolled diples.

    Place the dough rectangles into the heated oil carefully. Fold it three times very quickly to form a rolled film.

    Remove as soon as it has light yellow colour.

    Place on a paper towel lined tray to drain. Repeat the same for the rest.

    for the syrup:

    • 2 cup sugar
    • 2 cup water
    • 3/4 cup honey
    • 1/2 lemon juice
    • 1 cinnamon stick

    In a pot, put sugar,cinnamon stick and water, bring to boil. Add honey and boil about 5- 10 minutes. Before taking froim heat, put the lemon juice.

    Remove the cinnamon stick.

    Place the diples on a serving platter.

    Dip with syrup.

    to garnish:

    • coarsely chopped walnuts
    • sesame seeds (optional)

    Sprinkle with ground walnuts and sesame seeds.

    Don’t forget to share diples with your friends and family!

    Rolls with poppy seed paste

    May 31st, 2013 § 0

    A delicious sweet in 30 minutes with ready made pastry specially for baklava.

  • 3 sheets filo pastry for baklava
  • 80 gr butter
  • Melt butter in a low heat.

    For the filling:

  • 1 cup almonds (coarsely cut or chopped)
  • 1 T. cinnamon
  • 6 T. brown sugar
  • 1 cup poppy seed paste
  • Mix the filling ingredients.

    Brush each sheet of filo pastry with melted butter, layer by layer.

    Once 2 sheets of filo are pressed together, sprinkle the filling mixture over the sheet.

    Roll tight lengthwise until the end. Brush the cylinder with melted butter.

    Cut the long cylinder into approximately 10 cm pieces.

    Place into an oven tray.

    Bake in 200° C pre heated oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.

    For the syrup:

  • 1  cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • Put the water and sugar in a pot. Bring to a boil for 10 minutes, first stirring constantly. Simmer for 20 minutes and add lemon juice.

    Dip your first finger into the syrup, if it sticks to your thumb finger it means that the syrup is ready!

    Remove the baklava rolls from the tray and dip in the hot syrup.

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