Mediterranean diet dessert recipesHoney Almond Peaches

1 can halved peaches, rinsed
2 tablespoons honey
½ cup lowfat ricotta cheese
¼ teaspoon cardamom
¼ cup almonds

Rinse the peach halves, and arrange them face up on baking sheet. Mix ricotta cheese thoroughly with honey and cardamom. Spoon the honey-ricotta mixture into the peach halves. Bake peaches at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.

While the peaches are baking, grind almonds in a food processor until coarsely ground. Gently toast in a pan over medium heat.

After removing the peaches from the oven, sprinkle them with the course toasted almond meal.


Rolled Light Baklava

1/4 lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons safflower oil
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup walnuts
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 pound kataifi (shredded phyllo-optional)
6 phyllo sheets, preferably thick (#7), or 10 if you are not using the kataifi

1 1/3 cups honey, preferably thyme honey
1 1/3 cups water
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 lemon
1 cinnamon stick
Lemon Liqueur (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Halve the lemon quarter. In a small saucepan, heat the oil with the lemon over low heat for five minutes without boiling. Let it cool completely and discard the lemon.

Meanwhile, spread one-half cup of the almonds on a baking sheet and lightly toast, about 6 minutes. Coarsely chop the toasted almonds, the walnuts and the remaining half cup raw almonds in a food processor. In a medium bowl, combine almonds and walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Divide the kataifi into thirds and place it in a large plastic bag to keep it from drying out. Stack the phyllo sheets on a work surface and cover them with plastic wrap and then a damp kitchen towel.

Next oil a large baking sheet. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo on the work surface and brush it lightly with the lemon oil. Lay 1 more sheet of phyllo on top and brush with oil. Sprinkle about 2 1/2-3 tablespoons of the almond mixture over the phyllo, leaving about 11/2 inches of the short side farthest from you uncovered.

Distribute one-third of the kataifi over the almond mixture, again leaving about 11/2 inches of the short side farthest from you uncovered. Drizzle the kataifi with some oil and sprinkle about 2 1/2 tablespoons of the almond mixture evenly over it.

Next roll the baklava. Brush the phyllo border generously with oil. Starting with the short side nearest you, roll up the phyllo tightly like a jelly roll, while brushing the outside lightly with oil as you roll. Press to seal and turn the roll seam side down on the work surface. Cut the log into 10 equal pieces and then place the pieces cut side up about 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheet. Make 2 more logs (20 more baklava rolls) in the same manner if you are using the kataifi, or  4 smallier rolls  if you are just using the phyllo sheets.

Bake the rolls on the middle rack of the oven until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

While it’s baking, make the syrup. In a medium saucepan, combine honey, water, sugar, lemon and cinnamon stick. Bring it to a boil, stirring, and simmer until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let it cool until just warm; discard the lemon and cinnamon stick.Transfer the hot baklava rolls to a baking dish large enough to hold them tightly in a single layer and pour warmed syrup over them, making sure to cover each roll with some. Let it stand for 2 to 3 hours. Turn the rolls over, and if you like, drizzle with lemon liqueur. Cover, and let stand at room temperature for at least 1 day before serving.

Baklava rolls will keep in airtight containers for up to 2 weeks.

Makes 30 large, or  50 smaller baklava rolls


Fresh fig and anthotiro pie

2/3 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cup anthotiro or ricotta cheese
1 cup ground almonds
1 pound fresh figs quartered
1/4 cup pine nuts


Preheat the oven at 300° F. Beat butter with the sugar in the mixer until it becomes fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the cheese, and the almonds. Pour the mixture in a tin or flame proof  dish and spread the figs on the top.

Bake it for 30 minutes. Then sprinkle the pine nuts over the figs and bake for another 15 more minutes.

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