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Nutty Pastries with Fennel Seeds




Ηands on

This recipe was adapted from a cookbook by Nicholas Stavroulakis, first published in 1986. According to the author, the original version of this zesty, nutty treat, originates from the Romaniote community of Ioannina, in Northern Greece. The original name of this pastry  ‘Spentzopoutza’ is unpronounceable even for someone fluent in Greek!




In a bowl, blend the filling ingredients together and slightly crumble until you get a granola-looking mixture.


Mix the flour, sugar, soda, and a pinch of salt. Beat together the egg, olive oil and water. Make a well in the center of the flour and stir in the liquid. If it seems too thick to handle, add a little water. Turn out onto a floured board and knead for 5 mins. Preheat oven to 120-150°C/250-300°F.


Divide the dough into balls that you can roll out easily. Roll out to about 3 mm thickness. Cut into strips about 6 cm x 20 cm . Lay some filling along the length, in the center of the strip. Dampen one edge of the dough with a wet finger, turn it over the filling to meet the other edge, and crimp the edges well together, making a spine. Take the ends of the rolls and bring them around to join, making a circle. Dampen and crimp them together well.


Arrange on an oiled baking sheet. The spine should be on top, making an attractive ridge, but if you feel that might burst, pale it down on the sheet.


Brush well with beaten egg white and until golden brown, about 45-60 mins.

Ingredients for the filling

8 tbsps walnut and almonds, ground
2 tbsps sugar
2 tbsps honey
4 tbsps raisins, finely chopped
4 tbsps black currants
1 tsp Fennel Seeds
½ tsp cinnamon and ground cloves


Ingredients for the dough

4 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon soda
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 egg
5 tablespoons water
Pinch of salt

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