Sweet Treats to Enjoy during the Holiday Season

November 21, 2021

Greek ingredients help boost the flavor in the following recipes for sweet treats this holiday season.

Pumpkin Pie with Phyllo Crust

1 1 3/4- to 2-pound sugar pumpkin or butternut squash, halved through core, seeded
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon Greek sea salt
10 sheets phyllo dough, thawed
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place pumpkin, cut side down, on parchment. Bake until very tender, about 1 hour. Set aside to cool. Scoop baked pumpkin into food processor, discarding skin. Whisk together the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves in small bowl. Add the cinnamon mixture to the pumpkin in the processor. Add the sugar, eggs, milk, vanilla, and salt. Process until smooth. Filling can be made 1 day ahead. Transfer to large bowl, cover, and chill.
Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F. Lightly butter 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Place rimmed baking sheet in oven to heat.
Lay 1 phyllo sheet on clean work surface and brush lightly with butter (keep remaining phyllo sheets covered with plastic wrap and a damp kitchen towel to prevent drying). Repeat 4 times with phyllo and butter. Arrange stacked phyllo in tart pan, gently pressing and allowing long sides to hang over edge of pan. Repeat layering process with 5 remaining phyllo sheets. Arrange stacked phyllo crosswise atop first sheets so that overhanging corners point in opposite directions. Roll overhang in to form edge of crust. Pour pumpkin filling into pie. Place pie on hot baking sheet and bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F and bake until set, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool at least 30 minutes before serving with whipped cream, if preferred.

Cookies with Greek Honey

Sugar cookies. Photo by Sharon McCutcheon, via Unsplash

1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil
2 large eggs, at room temperature
6 tablespoons Greek honey
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Greek sea salt

In the bowl of a mixer with the paddle attachment, beat sugar and oil until blended. Ad the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. Add the honey and vanilla and beat well to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Carefully, add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and mix until a stiff dough forms. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto a greased baking sheet. Bake until bottoms are lightly browned, 8-10 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for about two minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Berries. Photo by Cecilia Par, via Unsplash

Greek Yogurt-Topped Cookies

2 3/4 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of Greek sea salt
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the topping:
8 oz. container whipped cream cheese, softened
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons Greek honey
2-3 cups fresh fruit of your choice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and beat well. Carefully add the dry ingredients. Mix until the dough forms. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Allow cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for two minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely before topping.
To make the topping, in a separate mixing bowl, mix the cream cheese, yogurt and honey until well combined. Spread on the cooled cookies and top with the fresh fruit of your choice. Sliced kiwi, pineapple chunks, grapes, and mixed berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, work well.


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