Have you ever tried Georgian cuisine? If not, now’s the perfect time! Today’s recipe is a Georgian dessert called churchkhela, which are strings of walnuts covered in grape juice and sugar. It’s a perfect end to any meal and is exceptionally easy to make, you just need a little patience (the churchkhela needs to solidify for a few days). We can’t wait to give this one a try!
– 40 walnut halves or whole hazlenuts
– 1 cup flour
– ¾ cup sugar
– 1 ½ quarts white grape juice, or 2lbs crushed red seedless grapes
– ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
– 10 ft. thick thread
1. Thread a need with 30 inches of thread, and knot the ends together. Thread walnuts onto the string, with the first 20 walnuts facing an opposite direction than the second 20 nuts.
2. Cut the excess thread from the needle and knot the ends. Leave a small loop at the top of the circle, so that you can hang the walnuts to dry easily.
3. Push 20 of the walnuts away from the other 20, so that there is a 6 inch gap between them. This is so that you will have to separate strands after preparing the chuchkhela.
4. If using fresh seedless grapes, remove their stems and puree them in a blender. Put the puree in a sieve over a large pot. Let sit for several hours in a refrigerator, until the excess skin is removed from the puree. Remove any excess moisture in the puree.
5. In a large skillet, cook the grape juice for 15-30 minutes, until it has thickened and the puree is reduced by about 1/3.
6. In a large mixing bowl, pour in flour and incrementally mix in the ½ heated grape juice
7. After adding ½ grape juice with flour, pour this mixture back into the cooking pan and bring to a boil. Allow to cook for 15 minutes or until it has thickened
8. Take a thin board or pole (such as a pole t hat one puts paper towels on) and position it between two chairs – this is so that the walnuts have somewhere to dry without disrupting the coating. Put plastic or newspaper on the flour to catch the drippings.
9. Slow dip the walnut strings into the mixture, making sure that the walnut is evenly coated. Slip the string loops onto the pole, and let dry for 20 minutes, and repeat this process 8-10 times.
10. Once finished, allow to try for 3-4 days.
11. Lightly sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar, and cut into smaller portions.
For more on Georgian Cuisine and Culture, check out the following sites:
About Georgia (where today’s recipe came from): http://www.aboutgeorgia.ge/cuisine/sweets.html?page=2
Global Table Adventure (where today’s recipe came from): http://globaltableadventure.com/2011/04/21/natural-grape-walnut-candy-churchkella-from-the-caucasus/