Pasteli: Ancient Greek Sesame Bars Rich in History and Flavor

 Pasteli, a timeless Greek dessert, traces its roots back to the 5th century B.C., mentioned by Herodotus and later by Greek lexicographer Isichios in the 5th century A.D. This iconic flat, oblong bar, crafted with honey or sugar, can also feature additions like pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, and, of course, sesame seeds. Yet, for those who appreciate tradition, the classic pasteli remains a favorite.

This original pasteli recipe endures through millennia, comprising two steadfast ingredients: honey and sesame seeds. The key to success lies in selecting your preferred honey variety and ensuring fresh, high-quality sesame seeds. These elements combine to yield chewy, delightful honey sesame bars.

Beyond their delectable taste, sesame seeds offer potential health benefits, potentially guarding against heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. They also stand out as a rich source of plant protein, offering 5 grams per 30-gram serving. Honey, on the other hand, is laden with antioxidants and essential nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.

To embark on your pasteli-making journey, gather sesame seeds, honey, lemon peel, and lemon juice. This recipe, yielding around 12 pieces, requires just 35 minutes of preparation and a brief 5-minute cooking time. Delve into the rich history and wholesome flavors of pasteli, a testament to Greece's culinary heritage.

Pasteli: Greek Honey Sesame Bars Recipe

Pasteli - Ingredients

  • 250 g of sesame seeds
  • 125 ml of honey
  • Lemon peel from ½ lemon
  • 1 tsp. of lemon juice

Pasteli - How to Make

  • Take a pan and roast them over low to medium heat the sesame seeds until they become golden. 
  • Pour them into a bowl immediately after they achieve the desired golden color. 
  • Take a medium pot, pour the honey, and add the lemon peel and juice. 
  • Heat until simmering, reduce the temperature and stir continuously for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and pour the sesame seeds and mix well.
  • Transfer to a tray lined with parchment paper and, using a wooden spatula, flatten to the desired thickness. 
  • Grease the spatula with a drop of oil to avoid the mixture sticking to it.
  • Allow the pasteli to cool for 30 minutes and then cut into individual bars. 
  • Store in an air-tight container or wrapped in parchment paper in the fridge.

Consider this natural energy bar as an ideal vegan dessert. If you like honey, you should try this yogurt with honey recipe. Enjoy!