Pasteli: Greek Honey Sesame Bars Recipe

Pasteli is one of the most ancient Greek desserts. Herodotus mentioned it for the first time in the 5th century B.C. Thousand years later, in the 5th century A.D., the Greek lexicographer Isichios mentions it as well. This is a flat, oblong bar made with honey or sugar. You can find a pasteli with other ingredients as well. For instance, pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds along with sesame seeds. But, I prefer the classic version of this recipe.

This original pasteli recipe uses the same ingredients for thousands of years. Honey and sesame seeds. Like any other dessert, it is important to choose the type of honey that you like most and fresh sesame seeds. Having the right ingredients will give these honey sesame bars a chewy taste.

Sesame seeds and honey are not only delicious ingredients. Sesame seeds seem to have potential health benefits. Apparently, they may protect against heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. Yet, what I like most is that these seeds are a nutritious source of plant protein. They give 5 grams of protein for every 30-gram serving. Not bad at all. Honey, on the other hand, is rich in antioxidants. It also contains nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus among others.

To make pasteli you need sesame seeds, honey, lemon peel, and lemon juice. This recipe, which gives around 12 pieces, has a preparation time of 35 minutes and 5 minutes of cooking. 

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 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, 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 on 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. Enjoy!