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Author Notes: This is a traditional Cypriot spoon sweet. It is made with fresh and under-ripe walnuts, and is a dessert you can keep in your cupboard all year long so that whenever you are craving something sweet, it's right there waiting for you. It's very sweet and goes perfectly with an afternoon coffee. —christina@afroditeskitchen
Makes 50 walnuts
- 50 under-ripe, fresh walnuts. (You know they are OK to use because when you cut little triangles out from the top and bottom of the nut, you should be able to remove any shell that has started to form. If you cannot remove all of the shell that has started t
- 2 kg white sugar
- 1 cup lime powder (also known as pickling powder)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tbs whole cloves
- 5 cups water
- Peel the walnuts. Wear gloves when doing this as your hands will otherwise turn brown from the iodine in the walnuts. Cut the tips off the walnuts in a triangle shape, as shown in the picture. Pierce each walnut with a skewer (I used a knitting needle) vertically. Put the walnuts in a bowl covered with water. Leave for one week (e.g. sat to sat) and change the water daily.
- On the 7th day, change the water and put 1 cup of lime (about 225 grams) in the water with the walnuts. Let rest for 4 hours. Then wash the walnuts at least 3 times and very thoroughly to rinse the lime out and then place in a large pot of water.
- Bring the pot of water with the walnuts to a boil for about 2-3 minutes. Empty the water and refill with cold water. Bring again to a boil. Empty the water. Add the juice of 4 lemons and as much water as needed to cover the walnuts. Leave for an hour. The lemon juice helps the walnuts to become shiny and crispy. Empty the water. In a clean saucepan add the sugar and about 4-5 cups of water. Heat the mixture on the stove until the sugar melts. Add the walnuts to the mixture and on medium heat allow the mixture to cook and foam for about 7 minutes. Let cool on the stove and cover with a lid.
- For the next 3 days, bring the mixture to a boil for about ten minutes each time. On the 3rd day (ie the fourth time boiling the mixture), add the cloves and cinnamon, boil and let the mixture reach setting point – i.e. when the sugar syrup slowly drops off a spoon. Also test to make sure that the walnuts are cooked. To do this, get a needle and pierce a walnut horizontally. Point the needle towards the ground and let the walnut try to slide off – if it does slide off, the walnut is cooked. Add juice of a 1/2 lemon towards the end. Note that if you boil the mixture too much, the sugar syrup will being to caramelize and you will need to add a little more water to make it more like syrup.
- Let the mixture cool completely and then place the walnuts with syrup in clean and dry glass jars. A good tip to make sure your glass jars are clean and dry is to put them in an oven with the door open at the lowest temperature for about fifteen minutes.
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