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I cannot find a definitive layering of aubergine/eggplant, meat sauce, potato, bechamel and cheese for 'authentic' moussaka: quite a variety in the order from good sources.

So, what is the best order for my priority; portions that plate well ie more brick than puddle?

Either fresh and hot or plated and reheated from cold?

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    Traditional recipes never have a definitive ordering for anything. It's a tradition and there will be many variations on ingredients, process, and flavor. The only times that there are definitive recipes for any food is when it had a well-known single point of origin (e.g. Caesar Salad). For example: Serbian Moussaka usually has peppers instead of potatoes.
    – FuzzyChef
    Oct 21, 2022 at 20:00

4 Answers 4

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Fresh and hot moussaka is a puddle. If you want it to cut it into "bricks", you have to let it sit overnight before serving. This is not changed by your layering approach.

The classic layering consists of two layers. The first one is the vegetables, meat and tomato sauce, all cut into cubes (up to 1.5 cm, some cooks make them smaller), and mixed well. It is quite similar to any other gyuvech, or to a ratatouille.

The top layer is the bechamel. It is usually added after the vegetable layer is cooked through, and it stays in the oven until it thickens a bit and browns nicely.

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  • Yes, I have read thru many many instructions.
    – Pat Sommer
    Oct 22, 2022 at 17:49
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As with lasagna and other casseroles, the secret to making moussaka as "dry" as possible is to make sure that the ingredients going into the casserole dish are as dry as possible. The order in which you layer the ingredients makes no difference.

This would include:

  1. Making the bechamel extra-thick (high flour-to-milk ratio)
  2. Make the meat sauce on the thick/dry side, by searing the meat dry and cooking it down quite a bit, and maybe increasing the proportion of tomato paste
  3. Precook the vegetables as dry as possible.

For the last tip, you have some different process options to make sure that most of the water is out of the veggies before they go into the casserole:

  • Oven-roast or air-fry them instead of shallow-frying
  • Fry them until crispy, then carefully blot off all excess oil
  • Fry them as normal, but dry them in the oven afterwards

I've personally used roasting method, simply because I've already got the oven heated for the eventual casserole. It works for making a more cohesive moussaka, but does change the taste and texture compared to the version I've had at Greek festivals, where having a ton of oil is considered desireable.

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enter image description here

Seems I can't post 2 pics.

This pic is wikipedia which is a lot more squishy the bottom half than a pic from a greek site. Both have a cleanly cut bechamel top so firm bechamel is critical to good plating. The tip I found elsewhere is to layer a bit of cheese throughout. That and nice thin eggplant slices at the bottom to crisp for a solid base.

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The "rule" is that the bechamel/custard layer is on top. The meat/vegetable layer(s) are "adjustable" as you see fit.

Some recipes call for the eggplant/potatoes to be cut into cubes or some call for thin slices. If you're doing it with slices you'll likely want to build up numerous alternating layers of meat/vegetables, similar to lasagne, but this isn't an absolute "must". I think it might help to hold it all together.

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