Greek Style Rice Pudding (Rizogalo)

Rizogalo is one of my favourite desserts. When making rizogalo, you can’t stray too far away from the kitchen, as this dish requires constant stirring otherwise the milk will burn. You may add raisins if you like, although Eva prefers this recipe without the raisins. Rizogalo can be served either warm or cold. This recipe provides 8 servings.

1 cup of Italian rice (washed and strained well)
4 cups of milk
1 cup of sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
2 egg yolks
1 tsp of cornstarch
Ground cinnamon for sprinkling

In a medium pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 cup of rice and turn the heat to medium-low. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, until all of the water has evaporated.

Add 4 cups of milk and continue to stir (in the video Eva added 3 cups of milk but later added another cup of milk). Turn the heat up and add the sugar and stir. Add the vanilla and the egg yolks. Once the liquid has come to a boil, turn the heat to low and allow it to simmer. Allow the liquid to reduce, stirring often. This may take between 30 to 45 minutes.

To thicken the pudding, add 1 tsp of cornstarch (diluted with water). Continue to stir and allow it to simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes.

To serve, pour the pudding into individual cups and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Enjoy!

Greek Baklava Rolls (Baklavadakia)

Baklava is one of the most popular Greek desserts known around the world, but there are also many different ways of preparing this wonderful and decedent sweet. In this video recipe, Eva shows us how to prepare baklava rolls. The ingredients are the same as the traditional baklava recipe, but here the phyllo is rolled and cut into individual pieces.

For the mixture

2 cups chopped almonds
¼ cup of sugar
1/3 cup of breadcrumbs
Zest of one orange (finely chopped)
2 to 3 tablespoons of cognac
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Juice of half an orange

1 package of phyllo
½ cup of butter

For the syrup

1 8-ounce glass of sugar
2 glasses of water
1 cup of honey
Half an orange or lemon
2 sticks of cinnamon
A pinch of cloves
1 tablespoon of lemon juice

Combine the almonds, sugar, breadcrumbs, orange zest, cognac, cinnamon and orange juice together in a large bowl and mix well.

Melt the butter either in the microwave or on the stovetop and set aside. Remove the phyllo from the package and lay it flat on your countertop. Cover the phyllo with a slightly damp cloth.

Take out three sheets of phyllo and brush each phyllo with butter (stack each sheet on top of the other). Place a few large spoonfuls of the mixture along the bottom of the top sheet of phyllo and begin to roll the phyllo. Butter the edge of the sheet and continue to roll the phyllo as tightly as possible. Once you get to the end of the sheet, you will need to butter the edge as well.

Once you have finished rolling the phyllo, cut off the uneven edges (but don’t throw it away, just throw it into your remaining mixture).
Cut the roll into 2 inch pieces (cut either straight down or slightly angled). Butter the edges of each place and place on a greased baking sheet.

Repeat this same procedure until you have finished using all of the phyllo and mixture. You may wish to use more phyllo sheets (e.g. you could six sheets of phyllo and place a large amount of the mixture on your phyllo).

Once you have finished rolling the phyllo and placing the buttered rolls on your pan, butter the top of each roll. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes at 325 degrees (this really depends on your oven; keep in mind that the baklava has to bake slowly at a low heat until golden brown).

To prepare the syrup which you will pour over the baklava, mix together the sugar, water, and honey together in a medium saucepan. Add the lemon (or orange), cloves, and cinnamon sticks and bring it to a boil. Let it boil for about 15-20 minutes. To see if the syrup is ready you can test it by placing a small drop of the syrup on your stove-top and feel it with your finger. If it has a nice body to it, it’s ready. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to help it stay nice and smooth after it cools down.

When placing the syrup on your baklava, either the baklava or the mixture must be cool and the other hot. In this video, Eva is using a pre-prepared syrup mixture, but if you would like to see her making the syrup please watch our original baklava video).
Spoon out the slightly cooled syrup onto the warm baklava. Allow the baklava to sit for about 20 minutes, afterwards turn over the individual rolls to allow both sides to soak in the liquid. Allow the baklava to sit overnight before you serve. Enjoy!

Irene’s Kourabiedes (Kourabiethes) (Greek Butter Cookies)

Kourabiedes are a traditional Greek cookie made for special occasions like Christmas. They are butter cookies covered with icing sugar and are a favourite among Greeks. This recipe makes a huge amount of cookies (about 8 dozen), so feel free to cut the recipe in half or simply give them away to loved ones as gifts!

2 lbs of unsalted butter
1 lb of Crisko
1 cup of icing sugar
2 cups of sliced and toasted almonds
6 egg yolks
2 tablespoons of ouzo*
2 teaspoons of vanilla
2 tablespoons of baking powder
½ teaspoon of baking soda
10 cups of flour
½ cup of rose water
About 3-4 cups of icing sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Using an electric blender, cream the softened butters together. Blend for about 5 minutes as you scrape the sides of the bowl. Slowly add in the icing sugar followed by the toasted almonds (be sure to toast the almonds in the oven for about 6-7 minutes at a low heat before you begin making the cookies). As you continue to blend the mixture, add in the egg yolks. Add the ouzo and vanilla and continue to blend. Add the baking powder and baking soda to the mixture (be sure to mix it with a cup of flour before you slowly add it to the mixture). Slowly add the remaining flour and continue to mix with the electric blender. With your hands, knead the dough for a few minutes. You can tell the dough is ready when it no longer sticks to your hands as you knead it.

To shape the dough you may use a cookie cutter or simply shape the dough into small crescents and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in the oven at 300 degrees for 15 minutes.

Once the cookies have finished baking, remove from the oven and sprinkle the cookies with rose water. Allow the cookies to cool slightly and then roll each cookie in a bowl of icing sugar. Set on a decorative plate. Enjoy!

*in this video Irene uses ouzo, but you could use either cognac or brandy (Metaxa is usually used)

Diples (Thiples) (Honey Rolls) Greek Dessert

Diples are a wonderful Greek dessert to make on special occasions. The dough is rolled into long, thin strips, fried in hot oil and then dipped in syrup. It is best to prepare and fry the dough a couple of days before you add the syrup. Frying the diples takes a bit of practice, but once you become more experienced you might try frying the diples in fancy shapes.

For the dough
12 egg yolks
6 egg whites
1/3 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of ouzo
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 heaping teaspoon of baking powder
1/3 cup of milk
1 tablespoon of vanilla
7 cups of all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil for frying (about 2-3 cups)

For the syrup
1 8-ounce glass of sugar
2 cups of water
1 cup of honey
Half an orange or lemon
2 sticks of cinnamon
A pinch of cloves
1 tablespoon of lemon juice

For the garnish
A handful of walnuts (finely grounded)
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of sugar

Using an electric blender beat the egg yolks and egg whites together. Add the sugar, ouzo, lemon juice, and milk. As you continue to blend the ingredients, add the baking powder (be sure to mix it with some flour), vanilla, and slowly add the rest of the flour. Once you have finished adding the flour, you will need to knead the dough with your hands. Once you finished kneading the dough, allow it to rest in the bowl for about 10 minutes.

Fill a deep-frying pan with 2 inches of oil and set on the stove at a low heat.

Sprinkle flour on your countertop and roll the dough into 2 inch balls. Flatten the balls and run each strip through your pasta maker until they form long, thin strips. As you continue to shape the dough, cover the strips with a slightly damp cloth in order to prevent the dough from drying out.

Once you have prepared the flatten strips of dough, you can begin to fry the diples. Drops the strips into the hot oil – one at a time – turn immediately using two forks, and roll into a cylinder. Remove from the oil when golden and drain on paper towels and cool.

To make the syrup you need to mix the sugar, water, and honey together in a medium size saucepan. Add half a lemon (or orange), about 5-6 cloves, and 2 cinnamon sticks and bring it to a boil. Let it boil for about 15-20 minutes. To see if the syrup is ready you can test it by placing a small drop of the syrup on your stove-top and feel it with your finger. If it has a nice body to it, it’s ready. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to help it stay nice and smooth after it cools down.

Please note that in this video Eva uses pre-prepared syrup. If you would like to view Eva making the syrup, please watch the baklava video. The same syrup that is used to make the baklava is used for the diples.

Combine the finely grounded walnuts, sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl.

Dip each honey roll in the hot syrup. Place the diples on a plate and sprinkle with the walnut mixture.

Enjoy!

Kulfi (Qulfi) Flavoured Frozen Indian Ice Cream

Kulfi is a type of frozen Indian dessert similar to ice cream. It comes in many different flavours such as, mango, pistachio and rose. In this recipe we are going to keep it simple and just use a combination of ground almond, cardamom and saffron to provide flavour.

Ingredients – Half Quantity (Full Quantity)

  • 185mL 1/2 can (370mL 1 can) Evaporated Milk
  • 75mL 1/4 can (150mL 1/2 can) Condensed Milk
  • 500mL 1/2 tub (1L 1 tub) Whipped Cream Cool Whip
  • 2 tbsp (4 tbsp) Ground Almond
  • 1 tsp (2 tsp) Ground Cardamom
  • 1 tsp (2 tsp) Sugar
  • 1 tsp (2 tsp) Saffron
  • Handful sliced almonds
  • Handful sliced pistachios

Directions

Saffron Powder

Using a mortar and pestle we want to combine the sugar and saffron and grind them together.

  1. Combine some of the sugar and saffron in the mortar.
  2. Using the pestle, grind until and sugar and saffron have become one powder.
  3. Repeat until you have gotten through all the sugar and saffron.

Kulfi Mixture

  1. Combine evaporated milk, condensed milk and whipped cream in a bowl and blend until no lumps remain, using a hand blender.
  2. Add the ground almond, ground cardamom and saffron powder into the mixture.
    Mix thoroughly.
  3. Pour the mixture into a tray or individual serving cups. Garnish with the sliced almond and pistachio.
  4. Put into the freezer to freeze. Freezing time is about 5-6 hours.

** Half Quanity makes about 7-8 servings
** Full Quantity makes about 14-15 servings

The Perfect Biscotti

Biscotti is an Italian cookie which is twice-baked. It makes a wonderful snack and is a great accompaniment to coffee, tea or wine. It is a light and textured cookie and makes a great alternative to the more sugary cookies available at the local supermarket. With biscotti you can really experiment with the ingredients: you can add chocolate chips, any time of nut, and even dried fruit like cranberries. Here Eva shows us her recipe for biscotti. We’ve tried many different biscotti recipes and found this one to be the best.

  • 2 cups of corn oil
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 5 1/2 cups of flour
  • 4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • The zest of 1 orange
  • 1 cup of sliced almonds or sesame seeds (to roll your biscotti logs)

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Lightly brush your large pan with oil.

Using an electric blender, mix together 2 cups of corn oil and 2 cups of sugar. Add the zest of 1 orange and continue mixing. Add 1 tablespoon of vanilla and then add the six eggs. It’s best to crack each egg into a small bowl and then add the eggs to the mixture one by one.

In another bowl add 4 teaspoons of baking powder to 1 cup of flour and mix together, and then add this to the egg mixture. Slowly add in the remaining 4 ½ cups of flour to the mixture. Continue working the dough with your hands.

On your countertop sprinkle some of your almond/sesame seeds in front of you. Take a large handful of the dough mixture and roll it into a log on your countertop, rolling it onto the almonds/sesame seeds. Be sure to oil your hands before handling the dough; the oil makes it much easier to work with the dough and keeps the dough from sticking to your hands. Continue working the dough into logs and place these on your greased pans. Sprinkle any remaining almonds on top of your biscotti logs.

Bake in the oven at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the biscotti logs from the pan and place them on a cutting board. Slice the logs into diagonal pieces and place these pieces sideways on your pan and put it back in the oven at 250 degrees for another 30 minutes to dry them out.

These biscotti are wonderful served with Greek coffee!

Eva’s Scrumptious Baklava

This video, along with the next two (which were done on the same day) were created without the use of a tripod. We learned our lesson and got a tripod. Sorry for any shaky hands :)

Baklava is a rich, decedent desert made with made with phyllo, almonds/walnuts, honey, and lots of love. This recipe has been in Eva’s family for years. We hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

For the phyllo

  • 1 box of phyllo (you can find this in the refrigerator section of your local grocery store)
  • Half a pound of unsalted butter (you can substitute the butter for margarine or corn oil if you like)
  • 4 cups of crushed almonds/walnuts
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1/3 cup of breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup of cognac
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
  • The peel of one orange

For the syrup

  • 1 8-ounce glass of sugar
  • 2 cup of water
  • 1 cup of honey
  • Half an orange or lemon
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • A pinch of cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice

More details outlined in the video:

Mix the nuts, cinnamon, and cognac together in a blender. Once blended, put the mixture aside.

Melt your butter in the microwave. Get out a large pan (I like to use a 16 x 14 inches pan) and a brush. Brush the bottom and sides of your pan with the melted butter.

Remove the phyllo from the package, lay it flat on your countertop and cover the phyllo with a slightly damp cloth to keep it from drying out as you work.

Place your first layer of phyllo on your pan and butter it. Repeat this 5 times.

Once you have about 5 layers of phyllo, pour about a cup of your nut mixture over the phyllo.

Place another layer of phyllo over the nuts and butter the sheet. Repeat this once more. If you like, you could crumple the phyllo rather than place it flat on the mixture, doing so will give your baklava a bit more body.

Add another cup of your mixture over the phyllo. Be sure to spread the nut mixture evenly.

Add another two sheets of phyllo (be sure to butter each layer). Now add the rest of your mixture.
Add another sheet of phyllo over the mixture and butter. Repeat until you have used up all your phyllo and, again, be sure to butter each layer.

Using your brush tuck in the edges of the phyllo into the pan. Butter the top layer of phyllo heavily.

Before you put the baklava in the oven you need to cut it, but be gentle! The knife should only pierce the top layers of phyllo, don’t cut all the way to the bottom. Cut the baklava into 3 strips and then cut horizontally across those strips. You should have squares. Now cut diagonal lines across the square to make diamond shaped pieces. Before you place the pan in the over sprinkle a little water over the phyllo.

Bake the phyllo in the oven at 325 degrees for an hour.

Once it is baked, remove it from the oven and let it cool.

Now you need to make the syrup which will be poured over the baklava. To make the syrup you need to mix the sugar, water, and honey together in a medium size saucepan. Add half a lemon (or orange), about 5-6 cloves, and 2 cinnamon sticks and bring it to a boil. Let it boil for about 15-20 minutes. To see if the syrup is ready you can test it by placing a small drop of the syrup on your stove-top and feel it with your finger. If it has a nice body to it, it’s ready. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to help it stay nice and smooth after it cools down.

Once the syrup has cooled down a little, pour it over the phyllo. Remember, either the phyllo or the syrup has to be cool. If both are still hot, the baklava will be destroyed.

Let it sit for a few hours, or preferably overnight, and serve!!