Sweet power – Greek sesame pastéli

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Believe me: When it comes to low sugar and coping with it I am an expert. Already a while ago now I’ve found my perfect emergency treat: sesame brittle. Its effect is quite fast and long lasting. If you would dig into my various handbags and totes, you would very likely find a package of this crispy sweet treat on every bottom. Especially when I am travelling, not knowing when I can grab the next bite, this is an ideal solution for me.

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At this point it probably sounds surprising that only now I approached the plan to substitute store bought sesame brittle for homemade. I blame my antipathy against handling with hot sugar/caramel for this. And actually I created a mess in the kitchen at my first attempt – including the fear to have ruined my ceramic plate for ever and never would get the hardened brittle off it again. Therefore my most important tip is to prepare your tools and work quickly as soon as sugar and honey have caramelized. The outcome is the best reward.
Of course you can alter this recipe to your liking, f. ex. by using different kinds of nuts instead of sesame – I’m thinking of almonds or hazelnuts, perhaps add a bit of coconut? I’ve only started my brittle making career – that’s for sure!

Also have a look at these and these yummy energy bites.

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Pastéli (Greek sesame brittle)

300 g sesame, 150 g brown sugar, 150 g honey, sunflower oil

Preheat oven to 180°C. Spread sesame seeds on a lined baking tray and roast for a few minutes in the oven until you can smell the nutty flavours. Watch them so they don’t get dark. Remove seeds from the baking tray and put baking tray back into the oven. Turn heat off.

Cut two pieces of plastic foil in the size of a baking tray. Oil both of them.

Add sugar and honey in a saucepan und melt over medium heat until it caramelizes. Use a sugar thermometer and cook until the temperature is between 140 and 160 °C. Stir in sesame seeds. Remove from heat.

Remove baking tray from oven, line with one piece of plastic foil. Pour sugar sesame mixture on the plastic wrap, cover with the second piece of foil, Use a rolling pin to thinly roll out the brittle. Try to work quickly. The caramel will harden quite quickly although the warm baking tray gives you a bit more time.

Let cool and harden completely (about 15-20 minutes). Break into small pieces and store in an airtight container.

Note: The most trickiest part is to bring the pastéli into shape. Some recipes recommend silicon mats instead of plastic foil. I also read about using a spatula to spread the mixture. For me this didn’t work. What didn’t work as well: a (greased) ceramic plate (had to reheat the brittle cause I couldn’t get it off the plate; greased aluminium foil (too sticky).


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