Sesame Bars with Thyme

by Maggie Battista on February 20, 2014

in Appetizers, Featured, Food Gifts


I am a huge fan of sesame seeds. When I was in my twenties and living in New York City, my daily routine included a bland street coffee and a heavy freshly-made sesame seed bagel, not toasted and loaded with salty butter. The sesame side, that single half that is covered in seeds, remains my favorite. I have about six of them stashed away in my freezer for a rainy day or a carb-fest.

We are not making sesame seed bagels today, but this recipe is heaven for a sesame lover like me. Heaven.

We’re actually making Pasteli, a Greek take on sesame bars. They are completely wholesome – unlike my sesame bagel – and filled with the simplest of ingredients: honey, sesame seeds, thyme and lemon. Evangelina, maker behind Daphnis & Chloe Herbs from Greece, makes them sound so effortless.

Sesame Bars with Thyme 

Pasteli (or sesame bars in English) is more or less as old as the Acropolis of Athens. Still, why people buy it pre-made and don’t make it at home is an unsolved mystery.


  • 1/2 kilogram honey (about 1 pound)
  • 1/2 kilogram sesame seeds (about 1 pound)
  • 1 lemon’s zest, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon of smashed Thyme Buds from Greece
  • 2-3 drops of corn oil or rose water


  1. Roast the sesame seeds in a nonstick pan and leave it aside.
  2. In a large pot, boil the honey for about 10 minutes, then lower the fire and add the sesame, thyme, and  grated lemon. Stir well. To test if the mixture is ready, drop some in a glass of water. If it forms an elastic ball, it is ready. If it dissolves, it is not.
  3. Place a large piece of baking paper on a flat surface. Grease it with a few drops of corn oil and sprinkle some roasted sesame seeds over the paper. Lay out the mixture, cover it with a second layer of paper and flatten the bar with a rolling pin until it is about 1 cm thick.
  4. After 10-15 minutes, cut the pasteli into pieces and let it cool completely.

Photos by Evangelina Koutsovoulou.

Eat Boutique discovers the best small batch foods by boutique food makers. We share recipes, maker stories and city guides to eating boutique. We host tasting events and markets for food makers, cookbook authors and food fans. We craft seasonal, regional gift and tasting boxes and sell individual items that you can order in the Eat Boutique Shop. You can also follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagramTumblr and Pinterest.


Maggie Battista

Founder at Eat Boutique
Maggie, is the founder of Eat Boutique. She started Eat Boutique as a blog in 2007, and sold out of her first gift box of small batch independent food in 2009. Maggie continues to offer unique and delicious handmade food in tasting subscriptions and seasonal gift boxes for food fans and home cooks. Maggie also hosts Eat Boutique Markets, where she spotlights cookbook authors and food makers. She’s written for Style Me Pretty, Food52, Time Out New York, Spencer Magazine, and writes a cocktail column for the popular wedding blog, Snippet & Ink. Maggie's also created retail experiences for the largest floral and event design company in New England. She regularly travels far distances to find the next great chef, farmer, food maker or host. You can follow her worldwide – and homemade – gastronomic adventures on Twitter at @mizmaggieb or @eatboutique. Maggie's first-ever cookbook Food Gift Love will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in October 2015. You may pre-order now.

  • Jen

    What a great way to get your bagel fix! I think I am going to try this with a little cream cheese : )

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