How to make the Georgian walnut dessert Churchkhela

 

If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll love this recipe for Churchkhela — a dessert log of sugar-coated walnuts that’s a favorite of Khatia, a New Women New Yorkers blogger and native Georgian. Churchkhela takes a while to make, but we promise: It’s worth the wait.

Churchkhela

Prep time: 4 hours
Cooking time: 3 hours

Ingredients:
1 1/2 quarts of white grape juice
3/4 cup of sugar
1 cup of flour
40 walnut halves

Supplies:
30 inch heavy-duty thread
Needle
Large saucepan
Metal spoon
1 2×4 board
2 chairs
Newspaper

Method:

  • Knot one end of the threat. Place the unknotted end of the thread through the needle, then thread 20 walnut halves through the needle with the flat side of the nuts facing up. Thread the next 20 walnuts through the needle facing the opposite direction (flat side facing down).
  • Remove the needle from the thread and knot that end. Push half of the walnuts to one end of the thread and the other half to the opposite end, leaving about six inches of thread in between. All walnut halves should be hanging flat side up.
  • Dry the walnut strands in the sun before the next step to prevent mold.
  • In a large saucepan, simmer and reduce the grape juice over low heat for about 3 hours, slowly stirring in the sugar throughout.
  • Whisk in the flour little by little to avoid lumps and return to a boil. (This mixture is called tatara.)
  • Suspend a board that’s 4 inches wide between two chairs and place newspaper underneath to catch the drips.
  • Grab the string of walnuts by the middle and slowly dip them into the tatara, using a spoon to coat the tops, if needed. Slowly remove them from the juice, carefully draping them over the board resting on the chairs.
  • Allow the grape juice and flour coating on the walnuts to dry for 15 to 20 minutes, until the coating is slightly tacky. Then repeat the dipping and hanging process until the nuts are completely coated (about 8 to 10 times).
  • Allow the walnut strands to dry for 3 to 4 days, until they are no longer sticky to the touch.
  • Wrap the walnut logs in towels and let mature for 2 months.

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