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Greek pastry, sweet bread sale may end today

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St. Vasilios Greek Orthodox Church’s Greek pastry and sweet bread sale continues today, but it is expected to be sold out by the afternoon.

Olga M. Thomas said that has been the case each year the church, 502 Franklin St., has had its annual sale.

“It’s an established tradition,” she said Friday, while taking a break from boxing goodies. “We have a minimum 15,000 pastries and it helps our church become financially stable.”

Profits go toward the salary of the 76-member church’s part-time priest and other needs, she said.

“Come early as you can,” Ms. Thomas said about today. “The most disappointing thing is seeing a frown on someone’s face when we’re sold out.”

Pastries for sale include: kourambiethes, an almond holiday cookie with powdered sugar; flutes, rolled layers of filo dough and a walnut mixture dipped in honey syrup; kataifi, a shredded wheat pastry rolled in a walnut mixture and dipped in honey syrup; finikia, a walnut holiday cookie dipped in honey syrup; and koulourakia, a butter-twist cookie covered with sesame seeds.

The most popular item has been baklava, a classic Greek pastry with layers of filo dough and a walnut mixture, covered with honey syrup.

Ms. Thomas said other items for sale are spanakopita, a spinach pie made with layers of filo dough and spinach with a feta cheese mixture, and sweet bread, which is a braided loaf made with mahlepi, a spice made from the inner kernels of fruit pits from a cherry, and covered with sesame seeds.

“The people here who made the sweet bread passed away, and we gave our recipe to a bakery in Syracuse,” she said.

Sale organizers arranged to have 1,000 loaves delivered for the two-day sale.

Most pastries are made a couple of months ahead of time and frozen throughout several weekends from September through the end of November. Baklava is the last pastry made before the sale. All preparation and baking is done by a core group of eight volunteers and four assistants in the kitchen, in the church basement.

The sale began in the 1950s when women of the church’s St. Barbara Philoptochos Society baked their specialty pastries in their homes and brought them to a downtown storefront.

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