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Greek style pastries to try in your wood-fired oven

To get an outdoor wood-fired pizza oven for your backyard is one of the best investments you can make not only in terms of being able to offer a relaxing alfresco area for your folks to hang out but to create delectable worldly cuisine at home. Here are two delicious Greek style pastry recipes for you to try out to give the high tea a Mediterranean twist.

Baklava

Best served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, this dessert is the perfect treat after a wood-fired meal.

Ingredients:

1 packet filo pastry, 250g melted butter, 500g mixed walnuts and almonds, 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon, 200g caster sugar, 250ml water, 8 Tbsp Greek honey, lemon peel.

Method:

let the temperature of your pizza oven drop to about 180C. Grease a 23x33cm ovenproof baking dish with butter and mix the nuts with the cinnamon. Unroll the filo pastry and place one layer in the baking dish, lightly butter the layer and repeat until you have about 8 layers. Lightly sprinkle the 8th layer with the nut mixture and top with another two layers of buttered pastry. Sprinkle with remaining nuts and top off with some more layers until the pastry is finished. Cut the whole stack into squares using a sharp knife and bake in the oven for about 35mins. While your Baklava is baking, mix the water with the sugar and boil until the sugar is dissolved. Add the honey and lemon peel and let simmer for about 20mins. Remove the peel and allow to cool. Once the Baklava is golden and crisp, remove from the oven and pour the sauce over it immediately.

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Ravani

This delicious semolina cake is sweetened with a simple lemon syrup and easy to make ahead.
Ingredients for the syrup: 900ml water, 1.200g sugar, 2 Tbsp honey, 1 lemon peel, 1 cinnamon stick.

Ingredients for the cake:

215g flour, 8 eggs, 250g melted butter, 1Tbsp vanilla, 200g sugar, 200g fine semolina, grated zest of ½ lemon, 2Tbsp baking powder, 11/2g mastic, crushed pistachio nuts.

Method:

In a small pot mix water, sugar, lemon peel and the cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil until all sugar is dissolved. Allow the syrup to cool down and stir in the honey.
Grind 15g of the sugar with the mastic until fine, then add the remaining sugar and combine. Transfer all to a mixer, add the eggs, vanilla and lemon zest and beat for 5 minutes until mixture becomes fluffy. At lower speed add the butter and set aside. In another bowl combine flour, semolina and baking powder and gently fold the wet ingredients into the mixture. Once your oven has cooled down to 180C, bake in a greased pan for about 35 minutes. Once done, pierce the cake surface with a knife and pour over the syrup carefully. Let chill in the fridge for at least 30 min before serving topped with crushed pistachios.