One of our favorite flavors that we believe can really take off a sweet is almond. In Greece we have a traditional product, soumada or orgeat syrup, a non-alcoholic drink flavoured with almonds, which does not have the place it deserves in our kitchens. Therefore, in our new sweet article we will learn what traditional soumada is, its health benefits and how we can use it. At the end, we will make a Greek flan with pâte brisée and pastry cream with soumada syrup.
We have read that soumada is the drink of joy and there is also a wish one will hear at weddings that translates “to your soumades”, which means wishing you joy. Soumada is an aromatic syrup made from almond milk and consumed diluted with water as a refreshing non-alcoholic drink.
Its name probably originates from the word “simadi” which means sign, since the drink used to be given as a sign from the groom to the bride before the marriage. It used to me made with bitter almonds, but now it is prepared with almonds, since the bitter ones are more rare nowadays. To enhance the flavor, some add apricot kernels to the almonds.
In Gastronomos magazine we read that soumada used to be served in islands’ cafeterias as a feminine drink, since it didn’t contain alcohol. The ratio is two centimeters of soumada in a full glass of cool water In Mitilini island soumada is also consumed in winter, warm and sprinkled with cinnamon. Traditionally, soumada was made by hand, from bitter almonds that the housewives beat in a mortar. Today, one can add bitter almond extract to almond soumada, just to give it its characteristic aroma.
Soumada is made as follows: first, bitter almonds must be soaked in hot water, so that their skin can be removed while they remain white. Then the almonds are mushed together with sugar and a solid paste is created. A little water is added to this fragrant, milky pulp and it is passed through a fine sieve or cloth to get the juice out. This process can be repeated several times to extract all the milky liquid from the almond pulp. The extract collected is boiled with sugar until it becomes a thick syrup. When the syrup has cooled, it is stored in bottles.
It is important to highlight that soumada is a very healthy drink. We have learned that it contains potassium, which helps maintain blood pressure, magnesium, which helps break down food, vitamin E which has antioxidant activity, and selenium, which helps the immune system function and thyroid metabolism. For all these reasons, tradition might have chosen it as the wedding drink, to invigorate and relieve fatigue and stress from the preparations.
What can we make with soumada? We can truly use it in every sweet preparation, adding a few drops for aroma and flavor, as we do with a bitter almond or vanilla extract. We just have to be careful not to put too much so that the aroma does not cover the rest ingredients of our dessert. You can also base your recipe on soumada, as we did in the pastry cream with soumada we made to fill our Greek flan.
Let’s see some more ideas of desserts based on soumada:
And since we have built an appetite, let’s go and make a Greek flan with pastry cream with soumada and enjoy it at the balcony together with a traditional glass of cool soumada!
H συνταγή μας
Greek flan with soumada
Ingredients for the dough (pâte brisée)
|Bread flour||200 gr|
|Butter (cold)||100 gr|
|Water (cold)||1 tsp|
The ingredients for the soumada pastry cream
|Corn flour||60 gr|
How to make the Greek flan with soumada
1. Prepare the tart dough (pâte brisée):
2. Prepare the pastry cream with soumada:
3. Line a tart pan with the dough:
4. Fill the cake pan with the cream and bake: