Pear-shaped cookies (Αχλαδάκια)

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Pear-shaped cookies (Αχλαδάκια)
Pear-shaped cookies (Αχλαδάκια)

These pear-shaped cookies are syrup soaked and flavoured with a hint of orange!

This is a post about love.  True love, pure love, everlasting love, and sweet, sweet love. We are so humbled to be able to give you a glimpse into the beautiful story of Κυρία Βασιλεία (Kyria Vasilia) and the love of her life, while at the same time sharing her recipe for what may be the loveliest cookies you’ll ever have.

Several months ago, we were at our Thea Voula’s house (THE Thea Voula of cheesecake fame) for a party.  As is typical for any large family gathering, there was a lot of food, and a lot of dessert.  Good thing we were there for hours; enough time to eat, digest, and eat again.  When it was finally time for coffee and cake, we of course expected her cheesecake, maybe some baklava and likely a galaktoboureko or two.  What we didn’t expect was a platter piled high with syrup soaked, pear-shaped cookies called Ahladakia. These were cookies we recalled eating and loving in a past so distant we couldn’t even remember the last time we had enjoyed them.  We quickly turned to our aunt and asked her where they came from and she responded “Stella brought them”.

Pear-shaped cookies (Αχλαδάκια)

Dear Stella, a newer addition to our family gatherings, told us that these cookies were a specialty of her mother, Kyria Vasilia.  After taking a bite, it was clear, this recipe would be our next More Kouppes installment; thankfully both Stella and her mom were on board!


When we first met Kyria Vasilia we fell in love, immediately.  Forget the fact that she is adorable, she is also kind hearted, generous of spirit and she was incredibly patient as she showed us, step-by-step, how to make her signature cookies.  And, as with any memorable kitchen lesson she shared more than her list of ingredients and techniques.

Kyria Vasilia is originally from Mytilini, the capital city of the beautiful island of Lesvos. Between measuring, mixing and shaping of cookies she spoke of the life she left behind in the early 70’s in order to come to Canada.  This was a bittersweet parting for her, as she was leaving behind not only her family, but also her first and only love, Manoli.  Her relationship with Manoli was complicated for a number of reasons, and the possibility of marriage seemed unlikely.  Because of this and other reasons, her father encouraged her to make a new start for herself in Canada and so, she ventured off.  Before she left, Manoli told her that she was not to worry, that one day he would find her and they would be together.


With heavy heart, Kyria Vasilia headed to Canada, not knowing the language or the culture. She was fortunate however in that she had an aunt already in Canada whom she was able to live with, and so she did.  Kyria Vasilia spent these first years working long, hard hours in the textile trade, grateful for employment.  Still, she missed her home, her family, and mostly her beloved Manoli.  With every passing month, with little to no communication between them, her hopes of seeing him again dwindled more and more.

What Kyria Vasilia did not realize at the time was that as she was settling into her new life in Canada, Manoli was working on an elaborate plan to leave Lesvos and his own family in order to follow through on his promise.  Although the circumstances of his departure were unfortunately complex, he did succeed and boarded a plane out of Athens to Montreal one late December day.


A day later, when Kyria Vasilia returned home after a long  shift at work she was met by her aunt, uncle and cousins in the living room of their apartment.  Her aunt, smiling, told her that a large package had arrived for her, and was in the back room.  Kyria Vasilia was excited, expecting it to be the Canadian residency card that she had been waiting for. Instead, she found Manoli, sitting on a chair, making good on his promise to find her, asking for her hand in marriage.

Kyria Vasilia and Manoli were married, and had 2 children.  To hear Kyria Vasilia speak of their life, you can’t help but feel the love, passion and commitment to each other that they shared. They had many beautiful years together. Unfortunately, Manoli died several years ago, but Kyria Vasilia maintains that he is still very much alive through her children, her grandchildren and in her memories and heart.

Helpful hints

Make no mistake, the hardest part of making these pear-shaped cookies will be shaping them. Even with the skilled hands of Kyria Vasilia right there with us, her gentle guidance, her literally taking our hands between her own as we rolled and shaped…it’s hard.  We finally got the hand of it…barely.  Do yourself a favour and aim low, at least the first few times you bake these.  The funny thing is, one of our daughters asked why we bothered struggling making pear-shaped cookies, when there was no pear flavour here at all. When she took a bite and tasted citrus she asked, “Why not just keep them round, and called them Portokalakia (little oranges), since that’s what they taste like?!”.  Smart girl!  We suppose you can do that of course, but we still think you should give the pear shape a try. They are delightful, and they are the way Kyria Vasilia makes them!  We have included a video of her method in the recipe below.

Pear-shaped cookies (Αχλαδάκια)

We’re not sure if it was our rolling and shaping technique or not, but it seemed that the cookies that we shaped tended to crack a bit during the baking.  Kyria Vasilia assured us that this was perfectly fine.  In fact, she said that this was actually a bonus as it allowed more syrup to easily seep into the cookie.  We told you, she is a very nice lady!

Pear-shaped cookies (Αχλαδάκια)
Pear-shaped cookies (Αχλαδάκια)
Pear-shaped cookies (Αχλαδάκια)

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Syrup soaked cookies shaped like little pears but flavoured with a hint of orange!
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Pear shaped cookies

Syrup soaked cookies shaped like little pears but flavoured with a hint of orange!
Prep Time1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time2 hours 30 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: cookies, more kouppes,
Servings: 75 cookies
Author: Mia Kouppa


  • Baking tray
  • hand held mixer


  • 6 cups (900 grams) all purpose flour start with 5 3/4 cups
  • 2 tbsp + 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered vanilla
  • 1 tbsp + 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 1/4 cup (250 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup (310 mL) vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cups (180 mL) freshly squeezed orange juice about 2 oranges
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 75 whole cloves

For the syrup:

  • 2 cups (500 mL) water
  • 2 cups (400 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon orange blossom water optional


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a large bowl whisk together 3 cups of the flour with the baking powder and the powdered vanilla.  Set aside.
    2 tbsp + 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon powdered vanilla
  • In a large bowl combine the grated lemon peel with the granulated sugar.  Mix well. Next, add the oil and using a hand held mixer beat all of this quite well. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
    1 tbsp + 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel, 1 1/4 cup (250 grams) granulated white sugar, 1 1/4 cup (310 mL) vegetable oil, 3 large eggs, separated
  • Combine the baking soda with the freshly squeezed orange juice.  Mix well.   It will froth up a bit; this is fine.  Add this to the bowl with the sugar, oil and egg yolks.  Set aside.
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 3/4 cups (180 mL) freshly squeezed orange juice
  • In a medium sized bowl using a cleaned and dried hand mixer beat the egg whites until soft white peaks are formed.
  • Add half of the egg whites to the bowl with the sugar, oil and egg yolks, beating well until they are well combined.  Add the remaining egg whites and continue to beat until combined.
  • Add flour from the bowl which contains the flour and baking powder combination about 1/4 cup at a time, beating well after each addition.  When you have added all 3 cups of the flour and baking powder mix stop using the hand held mixture. Continue to add plain flour until you have added between 5 3/4 cups to 6 cups flour TOTAL and do all of the mixing by hand.  Your dough should be soft, fluffy and almost velvety.  It should not stick to your hands, and should be very easy to shape and handle. If you're not sure whether you need to add more flour, let the dough sit for about 10 minutes, then check it.

To shape the cookies

  • Take one tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball using the palms of your hands.  Then, place the ball at the edge of your right palm, so that half the ball is on your palm and half is off of it.  You will not move this hand.  Then, take the palm of your left hand and move that hand back and forth over the ball of dough in order to create the tapered end of your pear shape.  Allow gravity to help a little bit by holding your hands vertically. You can probably get a better sense of what we mean by watching this video
  • Once you have shaped your cookies, insert a whole clove into the rounded end of the cookie; this represents the bottom of the pear.
  • Place the shaped cookies on a parchment lined cookies sheet and bake in the middle rack of your oven for about 20 minutes, until the cookies are golden brown and a darker brown on the underside of the cookie.

For the syrup

  • In a large pot combine 2 cups white granulated sugar with 2 cups water.  Add one cinnamon stick, the juice of 1/2 a lemon and if you like, 1 teaspoon of orange blossom water.  Allow this to heat up over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.  Heat for about 5 minutes after sugar melts, and then remove from heat.
  • Allow the cookies to rest on the cookie sheet for approximately a minute and then carefully dunk them into the warm syrup and let them soak there for about 30 – 60 seconds.  Place the cookies on a parchment lined counter in order to for them to cool completely.
  • Enjoy!


If the syrup gets too cool, warm it up before you add the cookies.

23 responses to “Pear-shaped cookies (Αχλαδάκια)”

  1. Elsa Vasalos Avatar
    Elsa Vasalos

    I love these stories that accompany your wonderful recipes. These beautiful women have not only delicious recipes to share, but these heartwarming stories. Thank you and please keep sharing!

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Thank you so much for your comment Elsa, and for your encouragement! We certainly do feel blessed to be able to share these stories with you; even with our own parents we cook, and often learn new things about them, their history, their memories. It is incredible and so rewarding. We will definitely keep sharing, and are encouraged by the positivity from people like you. Have a great day 🙂

    2. Xristos Avatar

      Thanks for this recipe! Reminds me of my childhood days making these with my mom. Na yasouv ta xepia sou
      Kupia Vasilia!

      1. miakouppa Avatar

        So happy to hear that Xristos! We hope you give this recipe a try – it really is a winner! And Kuria Vasilia is a gem 🙂

  2. a little Swiss, a little Canadian Avatar

    Looks amazing!😍😋

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Thank you so much 🙂

  3. Nancy Avatar

    They look amazing!

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Thank you Nancy! Mrs. Vasilia is a wiz at making these beautifully shaped cookies, but even our misshapen ones were delicious! 🙂

  4. sugarlovespices Avatar

    Such a nice love story! Ans such pretty cookies! The resemblance with a pear is incredible, you all did really well under her guidance. I bet they also taste amazing with their citrus flavor.

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Thanks so much! The prettiest cookies were most definitely not made by our hands 🙂 but the good thing is…they all tasted wonderful! It’s actually a pretty easy recipe, shape aside :)!

  5. Megala Avatar

    These cookies look so beautiful & delicious ! Enjoyed reading about this wonderful lady !!

  6. Marisa's Italian Kitchen Avatar

    What a lovely heartwarming story! And those cookies look wonderfully delicious….Greek cookies are my favourite, right after Italian cookies but I must say I’ve never heard or seen pear shaped cookies before. They’re definitely going on my to try list!

  7. annika Avatar

    The process is so much like melomakarona. Loved the story as well!

  8. […] take a perfectly delicious walnut cake, a delightful phyllo and custard dessert or a simply yummy pear shaped cookie and make them better with syrup.  Sticky, and now even more perfectly delicious, syrup soaked […]

  9. […] Βασιλική was born in Mytilini, Lesvos (like our other featured More Kouppes star Κυρία Βασιλία).  This was the beautiful place where her family settled after her grandfather swam there to […]

  10. Bairdford Baker Avatar
    Bairdford Baker

    Can you freeze these cookies? Maybe before soaking and then defrost and then soak in glaze

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Great question! We’ve never tried to do this…but we think it would work well 🙂

      1. Chris Eliopoulos Avatar
        Chris Eliopoulos

        Freeze them after cooked and dipped. My Yiayia recipe uses grated orange, you mix a tablespoon of almond extract in with orange juice and the add the baking soda

      2. miakouppa Avatar

        Great idea! xoxo Helen & Billie

  11. Nikie Malatos Randazzo Avatar
    Nikie Malatos Randazzo

    Can I substitute regular liquid vanilla extract?I haven’t heard of the powders vanilla.

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Hi Nikie! Yes, you can absolutely substitute liquid vanilla extract here. Use an equal amount and just add it to the wet ingredients of the cookie. Hope you enjoy this recipe…truly one of our favourite cookies!

  12. Andriana Avatar

    Hello, thank you for sharing this recipe and story. Forgive me if I’m missing it, but what temperature should the oven be set ? Thank you!

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Hi Andriana! You didn’t miss it!! We did! YIKES1! Thanks so much for pointing that out – the oven should be set to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. We’ll go in and correct that right away. Thanks again, and hope you love the cookies 😉 xoxo Helen & Billie

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