Greek Festival cookies and pastries: a ranking

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Greek desserts are legendary and a big draw at the Greek Festival. Here’s a list of what’s available at the fest, ranked from most favorite to least. Order a piping hot Greek coffee and get busy.

1) Baklava: My first experience with baklava came as a child when my brother was dating a Greek girl in New Jersey. Her mom (Una) invited us over for dinner and we watched in fascination as she rolled out large sheets of filo and brushed an entire stick of melted butter on each layer as she folded them up with nuts and cinammon. As it baked, she basted it with honey. The end result is one of the most amazing desserts on the planet. So rich, gooey, and delicious. It even comes in a chocolate version.

2) Loukoumades: Greece’s version of the beignet, zeppoli, and funnel cake. Essentially, dough deep fried in oil, dipped in honey, and sprinkled with cinnamon. You get seven for $3 bucks. The best deal of the festival, by far.

3) Kataifi: These look like birds nests dripping with pine sap. In reality, they’re shredded filo dough with chopped nuts and spices, “basted” with butter and honey. The honey soaks into the shredded pastry and the combined texture is unlike any dessert you’ve ever had. Very sweet and sticky. It’s hard to eat more than one.

4) Kourambiethes: An almond flavored butter cookie that’s covered in powdered sugar. Similar to a Mexican wedding cookie and just as tasty.

5) Koulourakia: An antidote to the richer desserts, this plain Greek pastry cookie is made from buttery twists of dough and baked until golden brown.

6) Pecan Blossom: Like a mini Greek pecan pie. Nuts stuck together in honey and nestled in a crust of filo. Yum-o.

7) Finikia: A classic Greek cookie that’s served during holidays. This is spicy and semi-soft flavored with cinnamon and dipped in honey and rolled in nuts.

8) Paxemadia: A Greek version of biscotti. Crispy toasted buttery dough that pairs perfectly with a cup of strong Greek coffee.

Photo courtesy of Charleston Picture Company.

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