Grietiniečiai are lovely sweet pastries with a curd and raisin filling and a hint of rum. It’s extremely easy to make this dessert, requiring just a handful of ingredients.
Grietiniečiai – the word that’s almost impossible to pronounce even for me, but it hides so many tasty memories and delicious stories. To give you a better explanation, let me start by saying that if you search for this recipe on Lithuanian sites the first phrases you’ll find are: ‘the best’, ‘delicious dessert’ and ‘reminds me of my childhood’. It would be difficult to find a person in Lithuania who wouldn’t know this sweet treat.
The meaning of this impossible to pronounce word translates something like: ‘made from sour cream’. Due to this ingredient, the pastry has a very unique texture. It’s crumbly but soft at the same time. I am telling you – this is simply a divine treat.
These sweet pastries used to be one of the best delicacies when I was in school. During lunch break we could choose from just two types of sweets – cinnamon buns or Grietiniečiai. Not the widest variety, but definitely the most delicious. This was 18 years of my life, so you can just imagine why I feel so nostalgic even thinking about this dessert.
Funnily enough, I always thought that making Grietiniečiai would be an unbelievably complicated process. I never thought that I’d be baking them by myself, but here I am, in my kitchen in London, rolling out the dough and hoping that these pastries will turn out exactly as I remember. To my biggest surprise, they are so easy to make and don’t require a lot of ingredients. The sweet pastries ended up being absolutely scrumptious – the pastry was crumbly and melted in my mouth instantly with the zingy yet creamy curd filling elevating the dish to the next level. To sum up, Grietiniečiai has everything you could possibly expect from the best dessert, as well as making a perfect accompaniment to your afternoon tea.
To keep the texture of these amazing pastries, I won’t be able to offer you any ingredient swaps for the dough. Sour cream or at least Greek yogurt is mandatory in order to have a crumbly and soft texture. Although, when it comes to the filling you can be more creative and improvise a little more:
- Rum – as always this is not necessary, so you can forgo this ingredient completely or swap it to any other liqueur; brandy, whiskey, or even a coffee liqueur such as Baileys.
- Raisins – swap them out for any other dried fruits. For example, apricots, mangos or dried figs would work perfectly.
- Sweet filling – you can actually make these pastries savoury by swapping sweet curd for the vegetarian or meaty filling and serve them with soup, or even just eat them on their own as a delicious snack.
100g room temperature butter
60g caster sugar
100g Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
Pinch of salt
50g caster sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla sugar
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and line a baking tray with a baking sheet.
- Prepare the raisins: soak the raisins with the rum, the zest and juice from one orange. Leave it aside for 20-30 minutes.
- Prepare the pastry: mix the butter and sugar until they combine and became fluffy. Add one egg together with the Greek yogurt into this mixture and combine everything together.
- Slowly add the flour and baking powder and mix everything together until the dough comes together. Gently knead it for a couple of minutes and after it comes together, wrap the dough in some cling film and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Prepare the filling: mix the soaked raisins together with the curd, two types of sugar, flour and one egg. Mix everything together.
- Take the dough from the fridge and roll it out on a lightly floured surface to around 5mm thickness. Cut out even circles of around 10–12cm diameter.
- Add a full teaspoon of filling onto the middle of each circle. Fold them in half and very gently press the sides (don’t press too hard, it just needs to come together rather than be sealed).
- Add the pastries onto a prepared baking tray and brush them with the gently beaten egg.
- Bake the pastries for 20 minutes or until they are golden.
- After the pastries cool down, dust them with powdered sugar.