Django has more than just delicious ice cream!

Konstantinos Karakatsanis Django

We were lucky to try Django Gelato sweets at the office a few days ago. The choices are few and good. The recipes have resulted from much research and experimentation, always in line with the philosophy of Konstantinos Karakatsanis, who focuses on primary ingredients and collaborates with the best producers.

At the same time, when he decided to bring some sweets to his shop, he looked exclusively for traditional Greek recipes, which he, however, elaborated according to his own philosophy to get them to his own standards, to what he wanted to offer to Django, taking care very his materials.

Django has more than just delicious ice cream!

@olivemagazine.gr

Ο Κωνσταντίνος Καρακατσάνης μάς έφερε στο γραφείο τα γλυκά του @djangogelato: Καρυδόπιτα Καρδίτσας με κρέμα, μελόπιτα από τη Σίφνο, Γαλατόπιτα και "Καμένη κρέμα". foryou dgangogelato olivemagazine_gr welovesweets sweetbites

♬ Never Lose Me - Flo Milli

The sweets we will find in Django

As he told me, when he decided to make sweets, he started thinking about how and what they would be.

"I'm not a confectioner, but what I wanted for my sweets is to follow my own way of thinking, to come from materials from the primary sector, just like my ice creams."

While at the same time, he was also looking for traditional Greek recipes from friends and acquaintances, which would form his basis. He then turned to a leading pastry chef, Manolis Stethos, who also happens to be his friend and shares the same philosophy as Konstantinos.

After three months of testing, much study and experimentation, they ended up with five recipes: milk pie, honey pie, "burnt" cream, walnut pie with cream and - soon - orange pie. Now, they will slowly start offering orange pie, as the oranges were late to ripen this year due to the weather conditions.

We should also note that at Christmas, they made their own gingerbread.

What's different about Django's sweets?

As we mentioned above, they come from materials that have yet to be processed, apart from sugar, which one cannot avoid in sweets. As Konstantinos told me, they experimented quite a bit with textures and sweetness while also struggling a lot with baking.

The new air pastry ovens, he told me, are designed to bulk up the mixes, drying out the natural ingredients. So, it took a lot of work there to achieve the texture they wanted.

"Ideally, on a long-term level, I'd like to make sweets in a wood-fired oven," he said.

His tricks and innovations

Since baking the sweets was difficult, Konstantinos, resourceful, persistent, and well-read as he is, thought of implementing a tactic he had seen applied in America.

So he decided to bake the traditional honey pie of Sifnos in a bain-marie like cheesecakes are baked in America. In this way, he achieved the result he wanted. And really, this particular honey pie is a very special dessert that is worth trying!

The Karditsa Walnut Pie is puffed with meringue, as it does not use baking powder in its sweets. On the other hand, the creams in all the sweets are all semolina, while no cream is used anywhere.

As for the burnt cream? This is his inspiration and idea. As he told me, all the Mediterranean countries have flame-burnt cream recipes, like crème brulée. He decided to make it since there was nothing similar here in Greece. And by taste? It was the dessert that I personally stood out from the rest!

The basic ingredients he uses for his sweets

As he told me, he has chosen not to have chocolate sweets. The ingredients for his sweets are as follows: milk, semolina, eggs, sugar, lemon, cinnamon, honey, anthotyro (for honey pie), oranges (for orange pie), walnuts, goat butter.

How does it choose its partners-suppliers?

The producers here are the same as those he collaborates with for ice cream. And those who are added must move on the same wavelength as Konstantinos.

"I want us to share the same vision and be looked after as I look after them. I rely on the producer. Even if it doesn't bring me a perfect product, I have to find the means to make use of it, to produce a product that is edible at least to begin with and tasty second. It doesn't make sense if we all work with super-perfect raw materials. The bet is how to take advantage of a simple raw material and turn it into something that when you eat it you say 'wow!'"

Which ice creams go well with his sweets?

The answer here was one word at the first level. "What I'm suggesting is that people eat our sweets plain."

If he were to suggest a pairing, he would mean that the ice cream be lighter in fat than the dessert to not overwhelm it.

In other words, he would only go well with some sorbet. And when I say sorbet, I only mean fruit sorbet, not chocolate sorbet.

info: Django Gelato Athens, Veikou 15, Koukaki.

Opening photo: William Faithful

Niki Koskina is a columnist for Olive Magazine.

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This piece was written for Greek City Times by a Guest Contributor

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