Craving the sweet taste of Greece in New York on a hot summer afternoon? Don’t fret, the Greek gods are on your side because you can find plenty of flavor-packed Greek dessert delicacies right here at Souvlaki Bar in Astoria, Queens!
Although it is world-famous for its wholesome, fresh and hearty dishes, Greek cuisine is also ripe with all sorts of sweet cakes, spoon sweets, pies and pastries – both traditional and modern – that will satisfy even the pickiest dessert enthusiasts.
There are several seasonal Greek sweets, but the mainstays you’ll find on just about any Greek restaurant menu in New York are: Galaktoboureko, Rizogalo (rice pudding), Karithopita (walnut cake), Baklava, Kataifi and Loukoumades (Greek fried donuts).
What are the top Greek desserts?
Combining different flavors, textures and fillings, these desserts are truly a wonderful extension to an already rich culinary palette created by the main dishes of the Greek cuisine. They usually feature ingredients such dough (phyllo), nuts, sweet syrups, fresh fruits, and a wide range of traditional spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and mahlab.
That being said, let’s round up the most famous and beloved desserts in Greek cuisine:
The exotic, mouth-watering Baklava is an absolute staple of the Greek dessert scene. It is usually made up of many paper-thin sheets of dough (phyllo), filled with finely chopped cinnamon-flavored nuts and bathed in sweet syrup or honey.
Many people have traced its origins to the Ottoman Empire, which is why the baklava is now widely found across many countries and cultures that were formerly under Ottoman rule. Despite its disputed origin, this historical specialty is now considered a traditional Greek dessert.
Switching up from the pastry-heavy line-up of Greek sweets, here’s a dessert that is not phyllo based but still manages to rank high in the top Greek desserts list. Rizogalo is a sweet, velvety thick paste made from rice that walks a fine line between custard and pudding.
You’ll instantly recognize the traditional taste of Greece in this one, due to the intense citrusy flavors present in the dish. This creamy rice pudding is usually served with cinnamon sprinkled on top.
Who knew a bite-sized ball of fried dough could hold so much flavor? Loukoumades are small Greek donuts with a crispy, golden shell and a soft, fluffy interior. Traditionally, they come coated in honey syrup and garnished with nuts and cinnamon.
However, more modern versions of this dessert also include chocolate or cheese fillings. Due to their small size, they’re perfect for a quick sweet snack in between meals, or dessert after a hearty Greek feast.
This fluffy pastry dessert with a tongue-twisting name is a golden gem of the Greek cuisine. A dazzling combination of crispy phyllo, creamy custard (semolina) filling and sweet citrus-flavored syrup – it’s a must-have for when you’re craving an authentic Greek sweet delight.
Karidopita follows the long-established Greek tradition of syrup-soaked cakes. This one features walnuts, an ingredient with a special reputation in Greek culture. Ancient Greeks were the first people to cultivate walnuts, so it makes sense that these nuts have since become a staple of Greek cuisine.
The traditional walnut cake is pan-baked and covered in sweet syrup, with some coarsely ground nuts added on top. Both the cake and the syrup can be spiced up using cinnamon, cloves or even spiced rum or brandy.
Any true Greek feast is made a hundred times better with an authentic Greek sweet treat. So come on over to Souvlaki Bar, grab yourself some wholesome, tasty Greek comfort food, and follow it up with one of the top Greek desserts in New York!