First Night Design | Melomakarona (Μελομακάρονα) Traditional Greek Treat

Μελομακάρονα — Honey Biscuits or Macaroons


There are rather too many sweet treats in Greece of which I’m not a great fan. For instance, I don’t like Baklava (Μπακλαβάς), Halva (Χαλβάς) or Galaktoboureko (Γαλακτομπούρεκο), which is a custard-filled pastry with syrup); it’s something about the texture of the first two that puts me off, and the custard one has rarely been good when I’ve bought it from a bakery. I’ve tried, heaven knows, I’ve tried.

But Melomakarona (Μελομακάρονα) are different, especially when there is enough honey syrup to make them moist. They are a Christmas indulgence over here and often given as presents.

This is a traditional recipe by Maria Pantzelioudakis from her previously mentioned cookery book. One of the ingredients is ‘alisiva’ which is designed to make the biscuits ‘crunchy and crumbly’. It is made using clean ash from burnt wood — bet you didn’t expect that!


720 ml olive oil
240 ml orange juice
125 g walnuts, finely chopped
grated rind of 1 orange and 1 lemon
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
125 g cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder/soda
120 ml alisiva (see below for how to make)
1 kg flour (approx)


1 kg sugar
480 ml water
240 ml honey
juice of one lemon
2 sticks cinnamon


First make the syrup. Boil together the sugar, honey and water for 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice and the cinnamon and leave to one side to cool

Next make the alisiva. Boil half a cup of clean ash with 2 cups of water. Once it has come to the boil, remove from the heat and let the ash settle. Finally, strain and the clear liquid is ‘alisiva’. This recipe requires 120 ml of this liquid.

Now make the biscuits. Place all the ingredients except the flour into a large bowl and mix. Gradually add the flour and knead the mixture lightly. Be careful not to knead too much as this will make the biscuits hard. If necessary, add more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Shape into ovals agout 3/4 cm thick and place on a greased baking tray. Bake in the oven at 180 degrees centigrade for 30 minutes until the biscuits are golden. Remove from the oven and pour over enough cold syrup for the biscuits to soak up. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts and arrange on a platter.

Prepare to be be enamoured!

Take care and keep laughing!


24 thoughts on “First Night Design | Melomakarona (Μελομακάρονα) Traditional Greek Treat

  1. Good morning Sarah….well, I am quite sure I wont be making these, but they certainly are delicious…and I hope that you enjoy a few over the holiday season. I hope you enjoy a lovely holiday season filled with peace, creativity, and a little love thrown in. Janet. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know we’ve talked about this recipe book before. This is one is truly something! I haven’t tried many greek sweets, They just look, too sweet to me (I’m more of a fruity dessert or a chocolaty one perhaps… Not big on sugary things).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I find that friends/neighbours usually show up with plates of these, that’s why I’ve never made them before. Maybe this year I’ll try. I agree with you about the other sweets – but one I occasionally like is bougatsa, which is phyllo pastry filled with custard and sprinkled over with sugar and cinnamon. If you get this at a good baker’s it can be delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The bougatsa has to have a lot of cinnamon and sugar for my taste. I find the combination of pastry and custard rather a turn-off, unfortunately. All the bakers near here are closing down or are not very good, alas. But I’m hoping our Christmas with friends is going to include delicious Greek treats!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Unlike you, Sarah, I like them all. I love the honey, and the sweetness. (Though I rarely treat myself to them) One of the highlights of my trips to Greece, or Crete, was to enjoy these indulgences after a meal. I can only say, Yum Yum!
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

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