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Pasteli: Sesame Honey Candy

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Photo of Pasteli - Greek Sesame Honey Candy

Pasteli: Sesame Honey Candy - the original energy bar

Photo © N. Gaifyllia, licensed to About.com, Inc.

In Greek: παστέλι, pronounced pah-STEH-lee

The version of pasteli most commonly sold at the market is generally very hard. It's the addition of refined sugar in those recipes that makes it hard. This classic version does not use refined sugar and creates a chewy texture with the fabulous tastes of sesame seeds and honey.

Tip: The quality and taste of the honey will have an effect on the final product. Try this recipe with organic honey of your preference (thyme, wildflower, fir, pine, chestnut, etc.).

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes


  • 1 1/3 cups of honey
  • 3 cups of hulled white sesame seeds
  • 1 strip of lemon peel (about 1/4 x 1 inch) (optional, see note)


Note: If desired, add the lemon peel to give the pasteli a light hint of lemon.

In a saucepan, bring honey and lemon peel to a boil. Add sesame seeds stirring continuously and continue to cook while stirring to mix completely and thoroughly. When the seeds are fully mixed in and the mixture has boiled again, remove from heat. Remove and discard lemon peel.

Spread a piece of baking parchment on a cool work surface and spread out the hot mixture thinly and evenly, on the paper (about 1/4 inch high).

When the pasteli cools to room temperature, refrigerate, as is, on the parchment paper (it doesn't need to be covered). Chill for at least 2-3 hours.

With a kitchen shears, cut the pasteli into small pieces, together with the parchment paper on the bottom, and serve.

To eat, peel off the parchment paper.

Store in the refrigerator.

Serving suggestions: Pasteli can be eaten as a candy at any time, as an energy booster, and it goes wonderfully well as an accompaniment to tea. Because it is very sweet, cut in small pieces. Those with a sweet tooth can always select several!

To increase or decrease quantity: The recipe calls for equal parts by weight of sesame seeds and honey.

  • 1 pound of honey (16 ounces) = approximately 1 1/3 cups
  • 1 pound of sesame seeds = approximately 3 cups

Note about sesame seeds: Sesame seeds can be quite expensive, especially when purchased in small quantities. Look for sources to buy in bulk.

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