Greek Politiko – Byzantine Dessert

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Ingredients for the base

  • 320 g coarse semolina
  • 200 g granulated sugar
  • 260 ml whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon mahlab
  • 1/2 teaspoon mastic

Ingredients for the syrup

  • 300 g granulated sugar
  • 300 ml water
  • orange peels

Ingredients for the cream 

  • 750 ml whole milk
  • 150 g granulated sugar
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 80 g cornstarch
  • 125 g Lurpak cow milk butter
  • 1 vanilla vial
  • orange zest
  • cinnamon, to serve

Method for the base

In a large bowl, place all the ingredients needed for the base, and mix them using a hand whisk until completely combined.

Then, flour and butter a 25×30 cm baking pan, and transfer the mixture into it. Bake in a preheated oven, on the middle oven rack, at 180 C fan, for about 20 minutes.

Method for the syrup

Remove the base from the oven and set aside to completely cool. Meanwhile, prepare the syrup.

In a saucepan, add all the ingredients needed for the syrup and place over high heat. Whisk constantly until they come to a boil.

When ready, remove the orange peels and pour the hot syrup over the cold base.

Method for the cream

In a pot, add milk, vanilla, and half the amount of sugar, place over medium heat, and stir. Make sure they do not come to a boil.

In a bowl, add the eggs, cornstarch, and the rest of the sugar, and whisk so that the mixture has no lumps.

Afterwards, add half the amount of warm milk into the egg mixture, while stirring constantly with the hand whisk.

Right after, transfer the mixture back in the pot with the remaining milk, and place over medium heat, while whisking until it turns into a firm cream.


When the cream is ready, remove from the stove, and add butter, while stirring continuously until completely incorporated.

Finally, spread the cream over the syrupy base, and then cover with plastic wrap, so that the plastic wrap comes in contact with the cream. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve.

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