Was doing a bit of spring cleaning. Going through the cabinets and came across a small collection of half-filled jars of honey. Not a bad thing, though said jars were monopolizing prime real estate in my limited cabinet space. Or maybe it was a longing to return to Greece (I ♥ Greece from 2010 — it’s been too long) that steered me in this direction today.
Pasteli is a really simple Greek treat made with honey and sesame seeds. It’s an all natural energy bar, the original energy bar. You can add other nuts and/or seeds to suit your taste.
Many recipes for pasteli call for sugar (in addition to the honey), which makes the bars a bit crunchier. My pasteli are made solely with honey. They’re pleasantly chewy.
A bit of orange zest is a nice addition. I’ve seen versions that incorporate orange blossom water which sounds really interesting.
After chilling in the refrigerator, they’re much easier to cut…
Pasteli: Greek Sesame Bars
makes about 40 bite-sized bars
1/2 cup almonds (and/or pistachios), toasted and roughly chopped
1 cup sesame seeds, toasted (used a combination of white and black)
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 cup honey
To toast the almonds: Preheat the oven to 350F. Place almonds on baking sheet and toast for 7-10 minutes, shaking the pan every so often, keeping a close eye to ensure the almonds don’t burn. Transfer to a bowl to cool. Roughly chop.
To toast the sesame seeds: Add the sesame seeds to a dry skillet over medium heat. Toss and turn until the seeds are lightly toasted, making sure they don’t burn. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
Combine the toasted, chopped almonds, sesame seeds, and orange zest in a bowl.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a saucepan, heat the honey over medium-low heat until it begins to simmer. Continue cooking until it thickens, about 5 minutes. Stir in the almond-sesame seed mixture. Stir well to combine.
Once the mixture is well combined, carefully pour the hot mixture onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Spread out the mixture thinly, about 1/4″ thick, into a rectangular shape. Pat down (damp hands work well to prevent sticking). Let cool. Place in the refrigerator to harden, about 1 hour. Cut into individual pieces. Enjoy!
Store in the refrigerator.