Strómatou Ouranoú is an Etosian dessert comprised of layered phyllo pastry and roasted mixed nuts, often drizzled in honey and whipped cream to produce a light, crispy dessert known for the complexity of the pastry dough. The dessert was originally coined by cooks in the city of Thessalo as a gift towards the Exalted Patriarch and the Septarchs of the Evintarian Church, as such, the dish is often made with seven layers of pastry to represent this. The dessert, yet simple in ingredients is complex in its craftsmanship, chefs looking to make the dish often spend months at a time learning to handle the pastry dough with a delicate hand, as to roll the pastry too thick means the dessert loses its characteristic crispy, compact nature.
Strómatou Ouranoú was first coined as a recipe through the experimentation of cooks in the city of Thessalo, with the first successful batch and recipe being produced in the year of 217 AC. The dish itself holds cultural significance in the purpose of its development - as a gift to the current Exalted Patriarch of the Evintarian Church at the time, who, along with the Septarchs of the church sought out offerings to the Imperial Spirit from the Craftsmen of the city. Amongst the vast offerings given by carvers and sculptors was the Strómatou Ouranoú. Nowadays, the food is often eaten as a dessert to meals by many Etosian families and is seen as a staple food for when one invites guests into their home.
Strómatou Ouranoú’s recipe first begins with the creation of phyllo dough, a pastry dough required to be rolled out thinner than a sheet of paper. This first begins with the wheat flour placed on a flat, wooden surface in a mound; a ‘well’ is formed into the center of the mound and water is slowly added to this. The flour is folded in on the well until fully absorbed by the flower, at which point the egg and half a cup of milk is added, and kneaded into the dough. The dough is to be kneaded until silky, and it no longer sticks to the wooden surface. Olive oil is brushed across the dough, and it is allowed to rest for thirty minutes to one hour.
During this time, the filling is prepared. Mixed nuts, typically pistachios, almonds, and pecans are lightly toasted in a skillet over an open flame, with the addition of a small amount of butter, salt and honey, until fragrant and adequately browned. This mixture is added to half a cup of honey in a mixing bowl and is mixed until fully incorporated.
Once the dough has rested, it is rolled out on a wooden surface as thin as possible, often hanging it over the side of the desk to allow gravity to stretch the dough to its limits. The dough is then folded around two cups of butter and rolled out once again. This process of folding and rolling out is repeated several times in a process called lamination and often takes many repetitions to provide the smoothest, most pliable dough. After this process, the dough is rolled out one final time, and hung over the edge of a desk to allow gravity to stretch it, the chef must take care in handling the delicate dough, as it is cut into sheets and layered with the nut mixture into the cooking vessel, often a clay dish.
The dish is cooked over a medium flame until the pastry is golden and crisp, and the roasted nuts and honey are fragrant. The dish is served after cooling for thirty minutes and is cut into a diamond-like pattern, adorned with whipped cream and berries.
- Strómatou Ouranoú is a rather visually unimpressive dish, without any striking colors or adornments. It has flaky, crisp pastry of golden color often washed over with egg to provide a light shine over the upper layer, and filled with layers of roasted nuts and caramelized honey, with a rough, golden brown color.
- Strómatou Ouranoú possesses a very buttery, earthy fragrance due to the high amounts of butter used in the pastry, the nuts and honey of the filling provide a very natural, sweet scent far more impressive than it’s appearance.
- Strómatou Ouranoú has a very crisp, fresh flavor often accompanied with cream and berries for additional sweetness. The dish is often described as having a very earthy taste, much like it’s smell due to the simple, natural ingredients it is comprised of. The mixture of the sweetness of the honey and the typical saltiness of the Pistachios is often remarked as the dishes finest trait.
- The original recipe for Strómatou Ouranoú is only available within the libraries of the Epitychiménos Cathedral, due to the current Exalted Patriarch’s love for the dish. This often results in many interpretations of the recipe being made, with the original being obscured from the public.
- The dish is often made and eaten during large festivals that celebrate Aethelhard the Calm, Heron of Beekeepers, during these celebrations, Etosian honey is sold in mass alongside the dish, though the recipe is altered to include a special form of honey-cream instead of regular whipped cream.