Friday, October 4, 2013
Pasteli is a very simple, and very sweet, candy from Greece that is basically seeds stuck together with honey. You could do something fancy with it like add lemon peel or a cinnamon stick to the honey while it's boiling, but you don't have to. Just make sure the honey tastes good, because that's literally half of the flavoring. It tastes like crunchy honey with a sesame aftertaste.
As far as the consistency of the candy is concerned, temperature is the key. You use the same guide as if you were making sugar candy. I thought I wanted a fudge consistency and cooked to 240º, but I should have gone a bit further, like 250º or 254º. Too hot, and it's going to be hard. It just needs to be sturdy enough to hold its shape, without breaking teeth. If you want to make this like a sesame brittle, you can go as high as 280º and spread it very thinly on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
*8 oz (by weight) sesame seeds
1. Generously butter an 8" x 8" baking pan, or at least line a cookie sheet with parchment.
2. Heat honey over medium heat until it boils, then start using the candy thermometer. Stir frequently to avoid boiling over and/or scorching. Don't walk away!
3. When honey has reached at least 250º, remove from heat. Stir in sesame seeds a bit at a time until all are incorporated. Pour into baking dish or onto parchment. Spread evenly (make defined sides on cookie sheet) and allow to cool to room temperature.
4. Wet a knife and make squares, rectangles, or diamonds in the sesame sheet. Keep them small, no larger than 1" x 2". A little of this stuff goes a long way. Place in fridge or freezer to complete cooling. Break apart pieces and wrap or place in bon bon papers.
Makes 1 pound, about 2 to 3 dozen pieces
Difficulty rating π