Note Raki, sometimes called tsikoudia is a strong spirit distilled from grape pomace, it's available from select bottle shops.
"It's traditional to use the wood ash from a fire to tenderise the pastry in these sweets. We've substituted bicarbonate of soda for a similar effect," says John Rerakis. "If you want to be true to tradition and use ash, you'll need to dissolve 2 tablespoons of ash in 30ml of boiling water, then strain the liquid through a muslin-lined sieve. Omit the bicarbonate of soda if you're doing this. The dates would have introduced by neighbouring countries such as Egypt, and they sweeten the mixture considerably. You can make the patouda with or without dates and you can change the walnuts and almonds to pistachios or hazelnuts for a slightly different flavour."