Patouda or Greek honey and Date Pastries are sweet pillows of crisp pastry, filled with a moreish blend of honey, nuts, dates, seeds and spices and are a popular treat at Easter time on the Greek island of Crete. They’re normally served with a generous dusting of icing sugar, accompanied by a strong, dark, aromatic coffee.
The traditional recipes use the wood ash from a fire to tenderise the pastry in these sweets, but I’ve substituted baking powder for a similar effect, or you can use bicarbonate soda. The dates would have introduced by neighbouring countries such as Egypt, and they sweeten the mixture considerably. You can make the patouda with or without dates and you can also change the walnuts and almonds to pistachios or hazelnuts for a slightly different flavour… but my family love this recipe just the way it is!
Patouda - Greek Honey and Date Pastries
- 1 cup Honey
- 1/4 cup White sugar
- 125 g each walnuts and almonds, coarsely crushed
- 125 g pitted fresh dates, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp each Olympian ground cinnamon and ground cloves
- 1 pinch Finely grated nutmeg
- To serve: pure icing sugar, sieved
- 1 1/2 tsp Olympian baking powder or ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 150 ml Olympian olive oil
- 1/4 cup Milk
- 1/4 cup Caster sugar
- 40 ml Raki
- 1/2 Lightly beaten egg
- 3 cups Olympian Farina plain flour
- For patouda pastry, combine the baking powder or bicarbonate of soda and 30ml lukewarm water in a large bowl, stir to dissolve, then add oil, milk, sugar, raki and egg and mix to combine. Gradually add flour, mix to form a smooth and soft but not sticky dough, cover and rest for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 170C. Stir honey, sugar and 125ml water in a saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil and cook until a syrup forms (6-8 minutes). Dry-roast sesame seeds in a frying pan until golden (1-2 minutes), coarsely grind in a mortar and pestle, transfer to a bowl, add nuts, dates and spices, pour hot syrup over, stir to combine and set aside to cool.
- Roll walnut-sized balls of pastry on a lightly floured surface to 3mm-thick rounds. Place 1 tbsp of nut mixture on one side of each round, fold over pastry to enclose and form a crescent shape, then press edges with a fork to seal. Trim edges with a 7.5cm-diameter cutter, place on oven trays lined with baking paper and bake until golden (20-25 minutes). Cool, then dust with icing sugar and serve. Patouda will keep stored in an airtight container for 3 weeks.