Sesame candy (or brittle) is a treat in many cultures around the world. In Greece, it’s called pasteli; in India, it’s called til gajak. And it goes by a variety of other names all over the world. While there are subtle variations in how it’s prepared in each country, one thing is true for all of them; it’s delicious! When I was a kid growing up in Brooklyn, my brother and I would walk to the bodega on the corner and buy them for about ten cents apiece. In Puerto Rico, we’d visit my great-aunt’s store and grab as many of these and other penny candies as we could fit in our pockets; then we’d eat them as we walked through the plaza and as we rode back to my grandparents’ house.
This recipe came from Epicurious.com; it is for the Greek version of the candy, pasteli. I made it last night, and Flamenco Dad and I loved the results. It stores well, so you can make a batch and store them in an airtight container. It will keep for about a week–thought in my house it won’t last that long.
Makes about 42 to 56 candies
Vegetable oil for oiling pan
1 cup mild honey
1 cup sesame seeds, toasted
1/2 teaspoon salt
Special equipment: a nonstick bakeware liner such as Silpat*; an 8- to 9-inch springform pan; a candy thermometer
Put bakeware liner in a large shallow baking pan (1 inch deep). Remove bottom of springform pan and set aside. Oil inside of springform ring with vegetable oil and put ring, upside down, in center of bakeware liner.
Bring honey, sesame seeds, and salt to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, then boil undisturbed until mixture registers 280 to 290°F on thermometer, about 15 minutes.
Holding ring in place, quickly pour mixture into ring, then cool on a rack until candy is set but still warm, about 40 minutes. Unmold by peeling ring with candy off bakeware liner. Transfer candy to a cutting board, then run a paring knife around edge of springform ring and lift ring off candy. Cut candy into 1-inch pieces with an oiled large knife.