Melitinia: Sweet Greek Easter Tradition in Every Bite

 Learn how to make melitinia, a sweet and creamy Greek Easter dessert that's perfect for sharing with family and friends. This traditional recipe, which comes from the beautiful island of Santorini, is easy to follow and sure to impress!

Melitini (melitinia in plural) is a small sweet that comes from Santorini. This is an old traditional recipe in which you pinch the dough in such a way that it looks like a jewel. You can make melitinia in different sizes, medium, small (melitinaki), and large (melitini tart). 

Every Great Tuesday, women, and girls in Santorini make these traditional desserts in all the houses so that they would be eaten on the night of Resurrection and the following days of Easter.  

The word melitini comes from the Greek ancient “μελίτερος” which means sweet like honey. This traditional melitinia recipe, which gives around 50 pieces, takes 30 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to bake.


Melitinia - Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 1 kg of all-purpose flour
  • 40 ml of raki
  • 2 tbsp of butter, (room temperature)
  • 450 g water (approximately)

For the filling:

  • 1 kg of anthotyro (or other anthotyro cheese), finely grated
  • 1 kg of white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 5 g Chios mastic (in crystal form), frozen for 1 day
  • 350 g of self-rising flour (approximately)
  • 1 vanilla extract

For topping

  • Honey

Melitinia - How to Make

  1. To make this melitinia recipe from Santorini, start by sifting the flour into a large bowl.
  2. Next, add the remaining ingredients and gradually pour in water while kneading the mixture.
  3. Knead the dough with your hands or a mixer with a hook attachment until it becomes soft and elastic.
  4. Wrap the dough with cling film and refrigerate it for 20 minutes or until you're ready to prepare the filling.
  5. For the filling, grind frozen mastic with half the sugar in a blender until it becomes a fine powder.
  6. In a separate mixing bowl, beat the remaining sugar, eggs, and mastic powder with a wire whisk until the mixture whitens.
  7. Gradually add the anthotyro cheese while continuing to beat the mixture until it becomes a homogeneous mixture.
  8. Add the vanilla extract, lower the mixer speed, and gradually add flour, adding more if necessary, until you have a thick filling that stands on a spoon.
  9. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
  10. Flour a surface and roll out the dough as thin as possible using a rolling pin, to about 3 millimeters thick. Cut out round disks with a diameter of about 7 cm using a cookie cutter or an upside-down cup.
  11. Place 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center of each disk.
  12. Lift the dough around the filling and "pinch" the edge of the disk with your fingers to create a lace-like shape.
  13. Be sure not to overfill the melitinia, as they will puff up in the oven when baked.
  14. Place the melitinia on top of the non-stick paper in a baking dish and bake for approximately 20 minutes, until they turn golden brown.
  15. Let the melitinia cool down and serve them with honey.

These sweet and creamy treats are perfect for celebrating Greek Easter with family and friends. If you would like to try another classic Easter recipe, try making these Greek Easter cookies. Enjoy!