Could pasteli be the original energy bar? I’m not sure, but I don’t see why not. Pasteli is an incredibly simple, natural, and common Greek treat. And when I say incredibly simple and natural, I really mean it. Pasteli has two ingredients: honey and sesame seeds. That’s it (although you could add some raw pistachios–which are delicious).
I used to love it when my grandparents would bring home bars of pasteli from the Greek market. I’d devour it! It’s a great combo of sweet and nutty, and has a nice chewy texture. I’ve been wanting to make it myself for a while but just never got around to it. I was talking to my mom recently and she told me she was going to make some, so I decided now is as good of a time as any for me to make some, too.
Since this only has two ingredients (and makes a ton of pasteli), please use good honey. Really, it is definitely worth it. I found a Greek honey that I got at the market, which I would recommend, but any good quality, tasty honey will work. Tasting it beforehand is a good idea. I really like thyme honey for pasteli, too.
I decided to cut half of these very small, almost like little pieces of candy and leave the rest of the pan in bigger pieces. Of course you could cut these in big bars/squares or however you like.
This recipe calls for equal parts by weight of sesame and honey. So, to increase or decrease the recipe you should plan accordingly. One pound of honey is about 1 and 1/3 cups and 1 lb. of sesame seeds is about 3 cups. This will make a large sheet pan of pasteli. It definitely makes a lot, but this stuff will keep forever so there’s really no reason not to make the whole batch.
1-1/3 cup good quality honey
3 cups toasted sesame seeds
1/2 lb. raw pistachios (optional, I didn’t use any this time)
Prepare a sheet pan with some parchment paper.
Bring the honey to a boil over medium-low heat. Stir in the sesame seeds (and pistachios, if using) and stir, bringing it to a second boil. Stir for a few more minutes until the mixture thickens and darkens a little and everything is coated in the honey mixture. Pour onto the prepared pan and then smooth it out so it’s all even.
Allow it to cool at room temperature until it’s set (you can put it in the fridge for a bit, too, if you want) and then cut into pieces. Store the leftovers in a covered tin, in a cool/dry place.
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