Baklava To Revani: 7 Iconic Greek Desserts To Uplift Your Palate
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Greece is renowned for its indelible contributions to society, politics, technology, and literature. Beyond these historic achievements, the country also boasts a rich culinary legacy. Some of the most cherished Greek delicacies include the layered dish moussaka and the wrap delicacy souvlaki. Several Greek savoury dishes, including the aforementioned ones, have a Mediterranean touch to them. However, Greek desserts are somewhat different; remarkably, they show Middle-Eastern influences, abounding in ingredients like filo dough and sugar syrup. This Middle-Eastern influence on Greek desserts can be traced back to the Ottoman Empire.

Another distinctive feature about Greek desserts is that they are extremely region-specific. For example, the island of Crete is famed for portokalopita, an orange blossom-infused sweet treat, while the city of Thessaloniki is popular for revani, a succulent pistachio-infused dessert. And who can forget the global sensation that is the baklava? There is a debate about whether this layered delight originates from Greece or Turkey; regardless, both cuisines have their unique variations of the baklava, which are equally tempting and delightful. Take a look at some of the most iconic Greek desserts.


Baklava is believed to have become a fixture of Greek cuisine during the reign of the illustrious Ottoman Empire in the 15th–19th centuries. It is speculated that the Turks introduced their culinary traditions to the Greeks, including the baklava. Over time, the local Greeks innovated this dessert to craft their own unique version of baklava. To craft this specialty, filo pastry dough is layered and stuffed with a honeyed nut mixture, which is then drenched in sugar syrup. Ingredients include walnuts, pistachios, almonds, cinnamon, and cloves.

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Galaktoboureko is an authentic Greek dessert crafted from filo pastry, semolina, and custard. To prepare this dish, slim layers of filo dough are stuffed with a luscious custard that has been concocted from sugar, milk, and egg yolks. The layers are subsequently pleated or rolled till the pastry assumes a golden-brown hue. After being baked to perfection, the treat is typically garnished with aromatic sugar syrup; this syrup moistens the pastry on the inside, forming a wonderful textural balance with its crisp exterior.

Image Credits: By Jason Hollinger - Galaktoboureko - custard in phyllo, CC BY 2.0/Wikimedia Commons

Glyko Tou Koutaliou

Translating to “spoon sweet” in English, this dessert is composed of a preserved fruit compote made of figs; other fruits, including quinces, apricots, and cherries can also be used. Pieces of the fruit are gently cooked with water and sugar till they combine into a dense syrup. The gentle cooking process imbues the fruit with rich floral notes, elevating the entire dish. This dessert is usually relished as an accompaniment to other foods, including Greek yoghurt and cheese; it is also used in baking pastries and cakes.


Regarded as the Greek version of doughnuts, loukoumades boast a colourful history. According to the ancient poet, Callimachus, these deep-fried treats, also known as “honey tokens,” were the original gratification during the inaugural Greek Olympics. Although these flavourful balls were ultimately swapped for medals, they remain a fixture of Greece cuisine. These desserts have a sweet-tangy taste as their batter is made from yeast, sugar, flour, and lemon zest. Occasionally, they are garnished with nuts, including walnuts and pistachios, as well as sesame seeds to give them some crunch.

Image Credits: By user "avlxyz" -, CC BY-SA 2.0/Wikimedia Commons


Karydopita is an authentic Greek walnut cake from the island of Crete. Predominantly crafted from walnuts, this dessert is subsequently drenched in a sinful sweet syrup. The cake batter comprises ingredients, such as flour, sugar, eggs, butter, orange zest, cloves, and occasionally, brandy or rum. Ground walnuts are combined with the batter, which is then typically baked in a bundt pan to enable the syrup to completely absorb. This fluffy and spice-packed dessert is frequently paired with a bubbling cup of traditional Greek coffee.


Revani is a scrumptious syrup-infused cake that is savoured not only in Greece but also in Turkey and across the Mediterranean. The primary ingredients of this tender cake are semolina, sugar, and flour, alongside seasonings, including vanilla, lemon zest, and rose water. Revani is bursting with a powerful sweetness acquired from dousing it in sugar syrup, setting it apart from regular cakes. This cake is a fixture in traditional Greek celebrations and special events; it is frequently garnished with pistachios, almonds, coconuts, or dried fruits.

Image Credits: By Maderibeyza - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0/Wikimedia Commons


Like karydopita, the orange-infused Portokalopita also has roots in the ancient Greek island of Crete. In fact, the dessert’s name gives a vital glimpse into its core ingredients, with “portokali” meaning oranges, and “pita” referring to pie. Thus, this dessert literally means an orange pie. It is unclear how this dessert was originally innovated; however, historical records suggest that it was born from a need to effectively utilise leftover filo pastry dough. This dish is held in high esteem as it honours the fruit produce intimately linked to the history of Crete.