Cyprus: Daktyla

If civilization truly starts on the table, then Cyprus is among the most civilized countries of the Mediterranean. The Cypriots instinctively know what is important to good living so eating and drinking well are always high on their agenda. Although international cuisine is widely available in Cyprus, the tavernas and best restaurants delight in serving classic Cypriot dishes that have been enjoyed over the centuries.
Like everything in Cyprus, religion is split. The northerners are mostly Muslim and the southerners are Greek Orthodox. This religious split brings about cultural differences and food, too, reflects the divide. In the north you will find more Turkish cooking, while in the south the food will be of Greek origin. However, wherever you are in Cyprus, you will come across some duplicate south eastern Mediterranean dishes, such as Kleftiko (baked lamb) and mezes (dip appetizers).

As with most typical Mediterranean food, recipes are based on locally grown produce, namely root vegetables, citrus fruits, fresh fish, vine leaves, cheese, olives, aromatic spices and fresh herbs such as coriander.

Sweets and desserts have always been an important and distinctive part of the Cipriots' menu. A favorite in South Cyprus is Daktyla, lady fingers filled with ground almonds and cinnamon sugar, a traditional sweet served during Sykoses (a ten day carnival preceding Lent) and Pellomaskes, holiday of the Mad Masks (similar to our Halloween).

Don't confuse these delectable sweets with the Greek Griechisches Fingerbrot, also known as Daktyla or "Greek Finger Bread", small loaves of bread topped with sesame seeds.


7-1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup oil
1 cup water (approximately)
dash salt

3 cup water
2 cups sugar
1 cup honey
1/4 cup blossom water
lemon peel

In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and oil. Slowly add enough water to make a soft dough (use more than the amount called for if necessary). Knead well. Cover and let dough rest for 1 to 2 hours.

Roll out dough on floured surface and cut dough into squares. Mixed chopped almonds with a bit of cinnamon. Place a spoonful of almonds onto each square of dough. Roll up into small cylinder shapes, sealing edges with a fork. Deep fry in hot oil. Drain on paper towels.

Meanwhile, boil 3 cups water with 2 cups sugar, 1 cup honey 1/4 cup blossom water and lemon peel for 5 minutes. Quickly dip cooled daktyla into hot syrup.

Recipe courtesy of Mary's Place.


Anonymous said...

First of all daktyla are not cookies and the way you have written your post you present daktyla as a Turkish dessert. Your post does not reflect the true image of Cyprus. The northern part of Cyprus is occupied by Turks.

Chef Mom said...

I try to be as accurate as I can with my recipes and how they are reflected, but not being a native of these countries, I sometimes miss the mark.

Thanks for your input, and if you have any suggestions for recipes, please let me know!

Anonymous said...

Of all the daktyla recipes, and they all seem pretty similar, this one was the easiest to understand and the one I would attempt to try! It doesn't matter where you're from...if you got a good recipe and can tell others how to reproduce it in a simple manner, then you're doing great!

Anonymous said...

Even though the first comment is explaining to you that this is not a Turkish dessert you did not bother changing it. This is a Cypriot dessert and I am almost sure, you can not find it in the Northern Illegally occupied Cyprus. Only in South Cyprus you can find Lady Fingers.

Since when Muslims have Sykwses and Sarakosti. These are Christian events.

Chef Mom said...

I believe I have changed the intro to reflect your comments. My apologies for the delay in making this change, and please let me know if I've got it correct this time.

And thank you so much for your input!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the changes
Maria from Canada

Anonymous said...

In your recipe you forgot to add the almonds.

You will need 2 cups of crashed almonds, 2 spoons of cinnamon, 2 spoons of sugar, and spoons of blossom watter. You mix them together and you make daxtyla

Maria Toronto

Anonymous said...

Daktyla are not cookies as one of your readers points out but they are pastries as they are made with filo. Can you please tell us which is the source of this recipe? Are you Cypriot and it was passed on to you by your family, did you copy it from the internet or from a cookbook?