Milton’s Saraigli

Melbourne’s favourite Greek-Australian pastry chef Miltiadis Polyhronidis @miltiadispolyhronidis shares his Yiayia Sofia’s Saraigli recipe! This recipe hails from Kozani, Greece. Sofia made this delicious treat with only a few humble ingredients for her family and friends on special occasions – Name Day celebrations, Christenings and the like… and on occasions when a sweet treat was simply desired!
Make it now to sweeten up your day!

Milton's Saraigli

Miltiadis' Saraigli consists of rolled layers of crispy fillo pastry, encasing cinnamon spiced walnuts, baked to golden-brown perfection and then drenched with a lemon spiked syrup.

Ingredients

For the syrup

  • 4 cups sugar
  • 4 cups warm water
  • ½ lemon sliced into 4-5 rounds

For the saraigli

  • 2 packs fillo pasty (375g per packet)
  • 350 g walnuts, ground (not too fine, not too coarse, somewhere in between)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (add more or less, to your taste)
  • 50 g caster sugar (less, if you prefer)
  • 100 ml extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 500 g unsalted butter, clarified

Equipment

  • Round 38cm diameter pan
  • Piece of curtain dowel – 45cm long and 5-8mm in diameter
  • Wide pastry brush – 7.5cm wide

Instructions

Preparing the syrup

  1. Cut 4 thin-medium slices of lemon from the cut side of half a lemon

  2. Put the sugar, warm water and lemon slices into a medium sized pot (the warm water will help the sugar dissolve more quickly)

  3. Squeeze a little lemon juice from the remaining lemon piece into the pot

  4. Stir the syrup ingredients until the sugar dissolves completely

  5. Bring the syrup ingredients to the boil

  6. Boil until the bubbles in the syrup are large and the syrup feels thick and sticky between your fingers (just quickly dip the tip of your index finger into the syrup and then rub your index finger and thumb together to test the syrup)

  7. Allow the syrup to cool completely and remove the lemon slices

Preparing the basting mixture

  1. Place the butter in a small pot over very low heat

  2. Allow the butter to melt completely. The butter will form two layers: a bottom layer of white milks solids and a top layer of clarified butter

  3. Very slowly pour the clarified butter into a bowl, being very careful not to allow any of the milk solids to follow

  4. Add the EVOO to the clarified butter and mix well

Preparing the nut mixture

  1. Combine the walnuts, sugar and cinnamon together

  2. Taste the nut mixture for spice and add more cinnamon if needed

Preparing the saraigli

  1. Baste your pan with the basting mixture – not too heavy, not too light!

  2. Take 2 sheets of fillo pastry and lay them in front of you lengthways (portrait orientation)

  3. Place your dowel widthways across the fillo, about 1/3 of the way up from the bottom of the fillo sheet

  4. Baste the centre of the area of fillo above the dowel with 1-2 heavy brush strokes of the basting mixture on top

  5. Fold the lower 1/3 of the fillo over the dowel

  6. Fold the lower 1/3 of the fillo over the dowel

  7. Take a handful of the walnut mixture (approximately 25-30g) and spread it evenly across the entire width of the fillo sheet, just above the dowel

  8. Holding on to both ends of the dowel, roll the fillo away from you to form a tight log

  9. Push both ends of the log inwards towards each other, to create a concertina effect in the log

  10. Keeping the log in this concertina shape by holding both ends of the log in place, carefully remove the dowel

  11. Keeping the log in the concertina shape, carefully pick it up and lay it down in the centre of the pan, in a tight coil

  12. Repeat this process and place the next coil in the pan so that it forms a continuous spiral with the first coiled log. Continue until the entire pan is full

  13. Baste all the coils generously with the basting mixture

  14. Sprinkle some water

Baking the saraigli

  1. Bake the saraigli at 180°C for about an hour or until it bakes to a deep golden-brown colour

  2. Remove from the oven and immediately pour 5-6 ladles of cooled syrup over the saraigli

Serving the saraigli

  1. Wait till all the syrup has been absorbed by the saraigli (1 hour or so) and serve with some iced water or a nice frappé!…I have to admit, I loved having it even sooner, while it was warm and syrupy!! Pure sweet bliss!!!

Key success tips

  1. Melt the butter over very low heat, so the clarified butter and milk solids do not remix through any boiling

  2. Not all of the butter-oil mixture will be used in this preparation. You can refrigerate any excess and keep it for your next fillo bake (good for a year)

  3. Any left over syrup can also be refrigerated and saved for later use

Recipe Video

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