Popular Greek Lenten Desserts and Sweets

Puddings, pastries and cakes make this list

You can still enjoy some excellent Greek desserts and sweets during Lenten or "fasting" periods. The list of desserts below include puddings, pastries and cakes. Whether you're observing religious tradition or suffer from food allergies, know that many of the desserts featured here are dairy-free and do not contain eggs, so you can enjoy them guilt free.

  • 01 of 09
    Greek Halva (Halvas) with Nuts and Raisins. Photo © Lynn Livanos Athan

    Semolina pudding with raisins and nuts is a popular Lenten dessert known as halvas. Although the dish has Arabic origins, it has been adopted into the Greek culture, as many cultures have influenced the nation's cuisine. The country was once conquered by the Turks and under control of the Ottoman Empire.

    The dessert is widely served during fasting periods because there are no eggs or dairy in the recipe. While eggs or dairy are often eaten during Lent by Catholics today, since the Middle Ages...MORE these foods have been forbidden during the Lenten season. Observers of the Greek Orthodox religion may more strictly adhere to ancient guidelines surrounding Lent than others.

  • 02 of 09
    Greek Honey Puffs - Loukoumades. Photo © Lynn Livanos Athan

    Loukoumades are golden puffs of fried dough that are bathed in sweet syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon and walnuts. They are a simple treat but pack a lot of flavor which is enhanced by the spice and nuts. If you're giving up meat during the Lenten season, walnuts are a great source of protein during your fast as well.

  • 03 of 09

    Koulourakia With Wine

    Lenten Koulourakia with Wine. Photo © Lynn Livanos Athan

    Koulourakia are delicious and crispy with a slight hint of cinnamon. They are so good that you won't miss the butter or the eggs from this dessert. If you are eating Koulourakia for Lent, be sure to know which Lenten rules your church follows and if wine is permitted. Wine that's boiled or cooked will not have the same intoxicating effects as standard wine.

  • 04 of 09
    Melomakarona - Honey Cookies with Walnuts. Photo © Lynn Livanos Athan

    Melomakarona is nearly every Greek's favorite Christmas cookie, and it just so happens to be Lenten approved. It's a real treat! You can make these cookies yourself or buy them from a Greek bakery.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Loli

    Loli - "Crazy" Cake from Sifnos. Photo © Lynn Livanos Athan

    Loli is the "crazy" cake from the island of Sifnos. The cake is made from a jumble of ingredients, and it produces a sweet and flavor-packed dessert that will make your mouth water.

  • 06 of 09

    Spiced Biscotti

    Spiced Lenten Biscotti. Photo © Lynn Livanos Athan

    A sweet anise flavor makes spiced biscotti a Lenten standout. It is the perfect treat to serve with coffee and tea. Biscotti is easily found in bakeries and coffee shops, if you don't have the time or inclination to make your own.

  • 07 of 09
    An Offering Cake in Honor of Saint Fanourios - Patron Saint of Lost Items. Photo © Lynn Livanos Athan

    Traditionally baked in honor of Saint Fanourios, the patron saint of lost items, this cake will delight you with its nuts and spices. Once again, nuts will give you some much needed protein during your Lenten fast. So, Fanouropita is not only tasty but will help you get necessary nutrients during this time of year.

  • 08 of 09
    Lenten Chocolate Cupcakes. Photo © Lynn Livanos Athan

    This is a rich and moist chocolate cake that tastes indulgent but still complies with the dietary restrictions of the Lenten season.

    

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09
    Photo of Greek Pasteli Candy - Sesame Honey Candy
    Photo © N. Gaifyllia, licensed to About.com

    Pasteli is a favorite Greek candy made with sesame seeds and honey, and this traditional recipe is the simplest, easiest and perhaps oldest. It creates a chewy confection that can be enjoyed like any other candy, as an energy booster, and it goes particularly well with tea.