Pastitsia is a version of Amygalota, which means that this is a coookie with almonds. It has almost the same same ingredients as a macaron or a macaroon and is crunchy outside, soft inside and chewy.
These cookies used to be the traditional confection offered at engagements in Cyprus and weddings in many parts of Greece.
A couple of my readers have been asking me if I had a recipe for them. I have searched the internet but unfortunately I have not found anything regarding this recipe. When I need a Cypriot recipe I always ask my sisters for help but this time it was impossible because this recipe has been kept a secret by the confectioners and no one makes them at home.
My sister asked a few of them if they would just tell her how to make them but they refused to reveal the ingredients.
I am working on the recipe and this is my first attempt to try and figure out how to make them. Unfortunately what you see in the picture is still by far not similar to pastitsia but it can be called an almond cookie or almond macaroon. These may not be pastitsia but they are delicious almond cookies. The taste is similar but instead of being chewy this is a rather a crunchy cookie both inside and outside.
In the recipe you will see 180 grams icing sugar and later on 1/2 cup icing sugar. When I made the cookies I was already baking kourabiedes as well and by the time the kourabiedes were baked the meringue in the cookies became watery so I had to pick it up again and add that extra 1/2 a cup of icing sugar and the flour which was not part of the recipe. The dough was quite sticky but I did not want to add more flour to it as there was no baking soda, no egg yolks or baking powder in the mixture.
I made 16 cookies but you will probably make around 20 as some of the mixture was waisted the first time when I transferred them back in the bowl to add the remaining sugar and flour.
Almond Cookies (not Pastitsia), Recipe by Ivy
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Baking time: about 15 – 20 minutes
3 egg whites
1 tablespoon lemon juice
200 grams blanched and roasted almonds
180 grams icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tablespoons corn flour (starch)
1/8 tsp salt
½ cup icing sugar
1 cup self raising flour (about)
Additional whole roasted almonds for decoration
Blanch the almonds and roast them for about 20 minutes and set aside to cool. Reserve some for decoration and the remaining powder them.
Sieve the flour and mix in the salt.
Whisk the egg whites with the lemon juice and then mix in the vanilla essence, corn starch and icing sugar.
Fold in the flour (and remaining sugar).
Line a baking tin with parchment paper.
Place a tablespoon of the cookie mixture on the parchment paper and a roasted almond on top.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180o C for about 15 -20 minutes.
I made them again, and again… and I think I am getting closer.
And again! Now after my fourth attempt making them, I finally made it. The following picture is store bought pastitsia and how they should look. However, as you may see these probably need a special nozzle to make them.
After many attemps making them, the last batch I made may lack in appearance but this time they tasted just right.
The recipe is included in My Cookbook Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste as well as in Volume 2 of my e-cookbook!.