Greek Recipes

Greek and Cypriot recipes

Gastrin – Ancient Version of Baklava

In Greek: γάστριν, pronounced GHAHS-treen

Sesame seeds, pepper, and poppy seeds are only some of the unusual ingredients in this ancient recipe. Petimezi (a sweetener made from grapes), used long before sugar arrived in Greece, adds to the unique taste. If you’re hooked on the Ancients, give this recipe a try.

Gastrin - Ancient Version of Baklava

Gastrin – Ancient Version of Baklava

Note that sugar is used in this syrup, to keep the cost down.

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes


  • For the dough:
  • 4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 1/2 ounces of toasted sesame seeds (a little over 2/3 cup), ground
  • ———–
  • For the filling:
  • 2/3 pounds of chopped hazelnuts, unsalted
  • 2/3 pounds of chopped almonds, unsalted
  • 2/3 pounds of chopped walnuts
  • 1/5 pound of sesame seeds
  • 1/5 pound of poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup of honey
  • ———-
  • For the syrup:
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of petimezi *
  • 3/4 cup of honey


* Petimezi: a syrup made from grapes (recipe).

Combine the dough ingredients and knead to form the dough. Roll out into 3 equal-sized sheets about 1/8 inch thick, large enough to cover a medium baking pan.

Combine all filling ingredients.

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

Place one sheet of dough in the bottom of a lightly oiled baking pan. Cover with half the filling. Add the second sheet of dough and the remaining filling. Place the third sheet of dough on top. Cut into squares and then diagonally to form trianges. Sprinkle with a little water and sesame seeds.

Bake on the rack just below the middle of the oven at 350°F (180°C) for about 30 minutes.

When the pastry is cool, combine all syrup ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Pour the hot syrup over the cooled pastry and let sit until syrup is absorbed (about 3-4 hours).

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