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Sesame, Pistachio, and Honey Candy | Pastelli

This pastelli recipe is a very good, nutritious, sweet snack. In the good old days it was seen as a good thing, an extravagance, along the lines of ‘‘Finish your food and you can have a piece of pastelli.’’ I love it with the pistachio nuts that the island of Aegina is so well known for. It’s very easy to make yourself, and the amount can easily be doubled.–Tessa Kiros

LC Not What You Expect Note

Yup, this is the homemade version of those individually-wrapped sesame and honey candies found in the bulk bins of health food stores. You know the ones. They often taste what seems to be a tad stale. Then again, maybe it’s just that they’ve absorbed the aroma of freshly juiced kale and carrots. But not these little lovelies. They won’t have sat there for two years, three months, and seventeen days before you take a nibble, and that makes all the difference for that honey flavor to envelope you and all your senses. Well, at least the most important sense. While they’re not the only way to satisfy a honey craving, they’re a darn good one.

Pastelli Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 20 M
  • Makes 30 squares

Ingredients

  • Mild vegetable oil for the work surface
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios, broken in half
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup mild-flavored runny honey

Directions

  • 1. Lightly oil a wooden spoon and a flat, heatproof work surface, such as a slab of marble, a plastic pastry sheet, even a large, flat plate. Have a small bowl of ice water ready and your rolling pin ready.
  • 2. Place the sesame seeds and pistachios in a nonstick skillet and toast them lightly over low heat just until they take on a hint of color. (Editor’s Note: You want to be careful not to overdo the toasting, as the seeds and nuts will remain in the skillet and will continue to take on a deeper, richer hue and taste. If you happen to turn your back and accidentally toast them a little too much, transfer them to a plate and continue with step 3, melting the sugar without the seeds and nuts in the skillet. Then return the seeds and pistachios to the skillet when you add the honey. Trust us. We’ve been there.)
  • 3. Add the sugar to the seeds and nuts in the skillet and cook, without stirring, over low heat until the sugar melts and takes on a pale golden hue.
  • 4. Standing back so as to avoid any potential splatters, carefully add the honey to the skillet. Working quickly, stir the honey into the sesame seeds and pistachios and mix it while you can, as the mixture will soon turn sticky and thick. Scrape the pastelli out onto the oil-slicked work surface and flatten it a bit with the back of the oiled spoon. Still working fast and furious, dip your hands in the cold water and then use them to form the pastelli into a rectangular shape. Grab your rolling pin and level the surface, stretching it to a rectangle that’s about 1/4 inch thick and roughly 6 by 7 inches in length.
  • 5. Let the pastelli cool for just a few minutes, and then cut the pastelli into 1 1/4-inch squares. But don’t dally or the pastelli will become too hard to cut. (The pastelli keeps in an airtight container for many days.)
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