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Moustalevria – “Must” make Palouzes and Shoushoukos

Palouzes or Moustalevria is a pudding made with either fresh grape juice during autumn or with concentrated grape juice (epsima) during other times of the year, when fresh juice is not available.

Must (in Greek moustos and in Latin vinum mustum, meaning “young wine”) is freshly pressed grape juice.

Moustalevria in Greek,  from “moustos” = grape must and “alevri” = flour , or Palouzes in the Cypriot dialect, is a pudding made with these two basic ingredients.  It is usually flavoured with arbaroriza (kiouli) = scented geranium, vanilla or mastiha (mastic resin).   These ingredients are boiled together until the pudding thickens.  I am not sure about the origin of the Cypriot name of this pudding but I’ve seen Middle Eastern recipes with the name “balouza” which is a kind of pudding made with fruit juice or milk and corn flour (starch).

Grape juice, usually from red grapes is used but it can also be made with white grape juice.  It is equally delicious but when using white grapes the colour is lighter.

The best time to make palouzes is September to October, when the grapes are sweet and cheap. However as I wanted to share this recipe with you in time, last Tuesday when I went to the farmers’ market, the grapes were at a reasonable price so I bought some sultana grapes to make this dessert.

Every recipe you will be reading today has to do with “GRAPE MUST” but the only thing I made myself was palouzes.  The other are just an explanation of what they are and how I remember them being made.

This is not the exact traditional way my mother used to make palouzes. That was quite complicated as I remember she would make large quantities but of course all the family and even friends or neighbours were there to help. They would add a special white soil to the must, yes that’s right soil, which after boiling, helped to remove all the impurities from the must.   (See note in comments by Niki: The soil that is added to the grape juice is in fact chalk and as an alkaline, it neutralises the acid giving a sweeter taste to the end product).     It was boiled in big caldrons called “chartzia”and passed from sieves several times. It was a quite tedious procedure as the pressing of the grapes is not easy (they used to do this using their feet) and would prepare an outdoor fire to cook it.  When the first step of boiling finished, after ii cooled down they would remove it from the caldron in other pots and whatever residue rested in the bottom, they would pour away.  After that they would put it back in the caldron, add the flour and stir it with a large wooden stick until it would set.  That procedure was very difficult as well.

The pudding was flavoured with kiouli (arbaroriza in Greek) which is the fragrant geranium leaves, or if they didn’t have any, with vanilla or mastic gum (resin).  They would then put it in bowls and some in large baking tins.  In the bowls they would sprinkle some cinnamon  and crashed almonds or walnuts on top.   The pudding would be eaten either warm or cold.  With the remaining they would either make shoushoukos or kiofterka.

The palouzes I made is a more simplified way of making this pudding and the recipe was given to me by my elder sister Zoe.  That recipe is included in my cookbook Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste as well as in Volume 2 of my e-cookbook, sold on all Amazon stores.

The recipe that follows is made with a mixture of moustos (grape must) which I bought at the farmers’ market and petimezi – epsima (concentrated grape syrup) so the preparation is much easier.

I must warn you that if you decide to make this dessert from scratch, when you finish you’ll end up with a very messy kitchen but it is worth while to make it at least once.  However, in Greece you can buy “grape must” at wineries during September – October, or at the farmers’ market.

Moustalevria / Palouzes (Grape Must Pudding)

(made with Grape must and Concentrated Grape Syrup (petimezi) or you can make it with more petimezi and water)

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves: 6


  • ½ litre fresh grape juice
  • 1 cup concentrated grape juice (petimezi)
  • 1 cup water (or substitute amount of grape juice with more water)
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp corn flour (starch)
  • 2 – 3 arbaroriza / kioulia (fragrant geranium) leaves (optional) or add vanilla
  • 3 tbsp citrus blossom water
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
  • 3 tbsp crushed almonds (you can roast them if you want)
  • 3 tbsp crush walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp sugar (optional)


  1. Boil the grape must together with the fragrant geranium leaves for five minutes.
  2. Dilute the flour and corn flour with the water and mix in the concentrated grape juice.  Discard the fragrant geranium leaves and add this mixture to the grape juice.
  3. Mix continuously with a balloon whisk until it sets.
  4. Pound the almonds and walnuts and mix in the cinnamon and sugar.
  5. Wet a bowl with the citrus blossom water.  Empty it in another bowl and continue until all are wet.  Empty any leftover in the pudding and mix.
  6. Divide the pudding in the bowls and sprinkle with the almonds and walnuts on top.

moustalevria palouzes

Some other desserts or products made of “must” are:

Petimesi (Epsima, in Cyprus)


“Epsima”, or petimezi as it is called in Greek is made from black grapes and is known for thousands of years.  Athinaios, the ancient Greek nutritionist and writer wrote about a fish recipe where a hint of epsima was used and he states that creations like those were why people did not become cannibals.

When boiling the must for a long time  (no sugar is added) it concentrates into a sweet syrup.  It’s Cypriot name “epsima” comes from the ancient Greek word afepsima (αφέψημα) which means to brew.  In the old days they did not have sugar, so apart from using honey, during summer, when sweet fruits were abundant  they made natural sweeteners from sweet fruit such as grapes, figs, pomegranate or carobs.  The flavour of these syrups is amazing but most of all they are way much healthier than any other sweeteners, as they contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.


Palouzes (moustalevria) was made during the autumn  with fresh grape  juice.  During winter, they would use epsima to make grouta, which is similar to moustalevria.  The concentrated grape syrup was then diluted in water and made a pudding which they thickened with flour.

Other things they would make are moustokouloura, pishies, kattimerka,  halvas in which they added epsima instead of honey or souppouthkia, fried pieces of stale bread, and after frying the bread, the remaining oil would be discarded and epsima added to make a simple dessert.

My mother would make “koulourouthkia me to epsima”, which is made of dough which she shaped into small spiral rings.  It is boiled like pasta, then it is strained and boiled again in epsima.  This was eaten as a dessert.


Shoushoukos or soutzioukos:

The other product made of palouzes was shoushoukos or soutzioukos.  They would thread almonds with a needle and when the palouze was ready, they would hang these threaded almonds on a stick, shaped with an upside down V, which they cut from trees (now they hang them on metallic ones) and dip them in the mixture a couple of times.  They would hang the threads and some of the mixture would drip off but the following day they would make a new palouze mixture and would dip the threads in another two times and would repeat this procedure the following day until the almonds were totally covered and the candle or sausage shaped product would be about 1 inch thick. They would hang the threads in the shade and these would dehydrate so that they could eat them during the winter.  These can be preserved for a very long time, preferably kept in the refrigerator.

Shoushoukkos drying at Omodos

Last October when I went to Cyprus I brought a lot with me and still have some in the refrigerator.Some of it I wrapped in cling film and placed it in the deep freezer and when I defrosted it, it was as fresh as when I brought it with me.


As I said above, they would make large quantities as apart from eating palouzes,  they would make shoushoukos out of the same mixture and what was left, they would make kiofterka.


To make kiofterka, after making palouzes and shoushoukos, they would put the leftover pudding in big baking tins and leave it a couple of days.  They would then cut it into rhombus (diamond shaped) or rectangular pieces about 3 X 2 inches long but not very thick, about ½ inch thick  and would leave them in a “tsestos” to dry  for many days in a shady place for several days to dehydrate.  They became hard but chewy but still delicious and they would eat them during winter.



Tsestos was a traditional handmade shallow basket made either from palm leaves, rope from stubble or straw.

They were a must in the traditional Cypriot household, in many colourful designs and sizes. They were used to carry objects such as koulouria, when they invited people to weddings, to dry trahanas, to cut fides (angels’ hair) or other pasta, to place the bread or flaounes to rise, during Easter, to dry kiofterka etc.

The recipe for palouzes is included in my cookbook “Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!

I am submitting this recipe to Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Srivali, of Cooking 4 all Seasons and created by Kalyn, of Kalyn’s Kitchen.

You can find many more Greek recipes in my cookbook “More Than A Greek Salad”, and “Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!” both available on all Amazon stores.



Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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44 Responses

  1. Now this is a dessert that is totally new to me. It sounds wonderful. Im glad you cna educate us on these things, because otherwise I would never know. Great new site.

  2. Ivy,

    This looks really good. I always find something interesting when I come to your blog. Speaking of blog, I love the new website!

  3. Sure looks gorgeous! I wouldn’t mind a messy kitchen if I could enjoy pazoules at the end of the day 🙂 Also, it was interesting to find out about the addition of soil.

  4. Ivy

    Courtney, this is why I love blogging. We all learn so many different things every day.

    Bobby, it’s good to see you here as well and thanks.

    Lore, it is oxymoron to add soil to clean the impurities, isn’t it, but it was something tried and tested and it did work. Of course not any soil could be used, just a white soil which did not become mud. It was just like using fat to make soap.

    Another weird thing used was ash water. They would add ashes (but only clean wood ashes, not from bbq) into water and preferably rain water, which would release the lye (something like soda) contained in the ashes which they then filtered many times and used this water to make cookies and other things. Ash water was very popular in washing (hair, clothes, cooking utensils) as it would remove grease and especially for clothes which made them extra white. A few weeks ago I saw a new laundry detergent in which they use ashes, so it seems that we are returning back to nature after all the pollution caused to the environment.

  5. I’ve had the Greek version a few times and it sounds very similar to this. There’s something special about “moustalevria” and I really had no idea how much work there was involved in creating it! thanks for the lesson on all the other by products too Ivy…always learn a few things coming to your blog.

  6. Ivy

    Peter I am glad you’ve had moustalevria. If it was with fresh grape juice it’s the same but if it’s with petimezi it’s called grouta and tastes a bit different.

  7. Ivy, I have really learnt so much today through your lovely post! thanks for sharing it with us!

  8. Ivy

    Thank you Shrivali very much. It was my pleasure.

  9. Ivy, what a great post! I love learning about Greek culture from your site. making this dish is no mean feat, having to handle 3kg of grapes for juice, but the end result looks lovely.

  10. Ivy

    Cake (lol) Thank God we have juicers because traditionally they used to press the grapes with their feet.

  11. This is really interesting. I’ve always avoided grape must recipes because it’s hard to find around here, but if I can make it myself it becomes a very feasible option. I’ll definitely give this a test run for the medieval lunch, and if I can keep the cost low enough it will definitely make an appearance. Thanks!

  12. Ivy

    I thought you might like this and it is light and delicious. If you need any clarifications please let me know.

  13. What an interesting read sis. I had no idea of all the wonderful things that could be produced from the grapes other than wine and juice.These are recipes that are rich in history:D

  14. Ivy

    Hey sis, these are traditions which the younger generation do not know about, so I thought at least I should write what I remember.

  15. Wow Ivy! I don’t think I have ever had anything like this before! Looks so good! Thanks for sharing – it looks like it was worth all the effort! 🙂

  16. Ivy

    Jenn, (lol) I wouldn’t do this more than a couple of times a year.

  17. Hey Ivy…loved the background info. Could see cauldrons of grapes boiling away like in Asterix & Obelix comics I read as a child!! LOL…I love the way it has just 2 ingredients. BTW, spoonfuls ate tbsps or tsps? My Dad has a grapevine…maybe one day…just a thought!!

  18. Ivy

    Hi Deeba (lol) exactly those caldrons were just like in Asterix. Since you have grapevines and you must have a lot of grapes, it would be great if you tried it. I must remember to clarify this somewhere, as in all my recipes when I mention spoonfuls I mean the big spoon. When I use a small spoon I write teaspoon.

  19. You’re getting back to your roots…and I like it. You’re the most fabulous Greek food blogger out there.

    Like the new site!

  20. Ivy

    Thanks Emiline, so sweet of you to say so.

  21. What a spetacular post! I loved every sentence. and how fabulous to find the scented geranium here. it is so lovely – never thought that it ould be used in food. We know so little about the various culinary possibilities, don’t we?!

  22. Ivy

    Hi Valentina, nice to see you here and hope to see you again. Thanks very much for your lovely comments. I am glad you enjoyed it.

  23. Nikolas

    Hi Ivy… An amazing post, thank you for sharing with us! I remember my grandmother making all of this stuff many years ago. Now that you’ve inspired me, I must give it a go for myself.

    She also made the little dough rings that you mention except she boiled them carob molasses (teratsomelo). I think she called them koulourouthkia.

  24. Ivy

    Hi Nikolas, I am so glad you read the post and I hope you and your family enjoy it, if you make it. Thanks for telling me about koulourouthkia and you are so right. I called my sister this morning and she confirmed it that they are called koulourouthkia me to epsima. I didn’t know that you can make them with teratsomelo (carob syrup) as I have a bottle I brought from Cyprus but didn’t know what to do with it.
    About koulourouthkia my sister told me that my mum would cook them in water first just like pasta but with no salt and when they were almost done would just leave a little water in and then would add the epsima, so I’m thinking of giving them a try with teratsomelo.

  25. sra

    Hi Ivy! This is really exotic and new to me, and it’s one dessert for which I can get all the ingredients here – that’s what I like most about it.
    When you say “Add to the remaining juice and stir until the cream sets”, do you mean we should do this on the stove? Or without fire?

  26. Ivy

    Hi Sra and thanks for visiting. What you have to do, when the grape juice cools down is to measure it again and transfer it into a sauce pan. Then with some of the juice dissolve the flour and then add it to the remaining juice, and then you should do this on the stove again and when it boils it will set. Just like doing any other cream and be sure to stir,

  27. wow! so interesting. you’re always highlighting greek and cypriot specialties. it’s a joy to read.

  28. Ivy

    Thanks Anna. I enjoyed reading your post as well.

  29. Sorry I am so slow at catching up on the WHB entries. I had a very rough week going back to school!

    This was such a great post, not boring at all! I love learning more about these traditional foods. Salt Lake has a very good Greek Festival each year where you can try some (but not all) of these things.

  30. Di

    I tried soutzoukos the first time when a friend of mine brought some from Cyprus. I LOVE that stuff. But I just tried to make it following a recipe but I can’t seem to get the mixture to set enough in the pot. It was too watery and didn’t seem to stick to the almonds at all.
    Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  31. Ivy

    Hi Di. I hope that you will try my recipe as well. My measurements are the traditional ones using glasses but now I am updating my recipes with cups. For that reason I show what I mean with “glass” because someone may use a bigger or small glass. Also I show how much is a heaped tablespoon of flour. Please refer to this post of mine, where you will see more about measurements. http://www.kopiaste.org/2008/11/measurements/
    I can tell you that one glass is more than 1 cup.

  32. Eleni.Aus

    Hi I am looking for a recipe for Koulourothkia cooked in Teratsomelo. If any of you could help me out that would be great. thank you . Eleni.

    • Eleni, I am e-mailing you the recipe.

  33. Dimitri

    Careful moving that soutzoukko through airports! I got my bag searched because of them!!! the customs officials were definitely suspicious of the castor sugar sprinkled brown waxy looking strips with string sticking out the edges 😀

  34. a dessert with grapes… awesome recipe, Ivy! the picture looks so inviting…
    My recent post Thai Yellow Chicken Curry

  35. Ivy

    Thank you Lissie.

  36. Olga

    Hi – i tried making the palouze but it didn't set! Can I do anything with it now or is it for the bin?!! It thickened and it's more like a creamy mousse!!

  37. Niki Michaelides

    Just back from Cyprus and can answer the question about the soil. The soil that is added to the grape juice is in fact chalk and as an alkaline, it neutralises the acid giving a sweeter taste to the end product. I made palouze last night using the chalk my aunt had given me and it was perfect.

    • Ivy

      Thank you Niki for giving this information. I envy you eating palouze this time of the year.

  38. Jannet

    Ivy I am bookmarking your blog. Food, nutritions, we take in regular life, you make it great with your recipies. I will come again for a new post from you. Thanks

  39. P Pieretti

    I can’t seem to be able to find the actual recipe (for palouzeh).

  40. Peter

    I’ve tried moustalevria in Greece but I think it was with petimezi. I’ve never made it myself. This sounds quite easy and I am going to try it soon.

  41. Jackline

    Thanks a lot for shring thess amazing recipes , waiting for other recipes sooon , I enjoy reading your posts as well.


    Hi, dear Ivy.
    I was last year in november in Troodos mountains in Cyprus.
    The fresh Shoushoukos I had tasted there are best all of the world…!
    I try to produce it at home, but still without satisfied results.. :0(
    Please tell me,
    Do I have to reduce contents of grape juice
    by boiling 3 hours to sirup before add flour ?
    What is the exact ratio of juice and flour? ( 1 liter – 100g) ?
    Do I have to use corn of wheat flour ?
    How to clean syrup without special white earth…?
    Thank you for your help Peter from Prague