Kutia Recipe (Sweet Wheat Berry Pudding)
Cook Time: 5 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours 30 minutes
- 1 1/2 cups wheat berries we used Hard White Winter Wheat Berries
- 4 1/2 cups of milk or water, but milk tastes better
- 3/4 cups poppy seed
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 2/3 cup dry apricots chopped
- 2/3 cup slivered almonds or chopped walnuts
- 1/8 tsp salt
Rinse wheat berries in cold water until water runs clear, then transfer to a bowl and soak overnight in lukewarm water, adding enough water to cover 2-inches above the wheat berries.
The following day, drain wheat berries, place them in a medium-sized heavy pot, cover with 4 1/2 cups of milk and bring everything to a boil over high heat. When milk starts to boil, reduce heat to low, cover with lid and simmer until wheat berries are very tender, 3 1/2 - 4 hours, depending on the quality of the wheat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Add more milk if needed to keep the wheat berries fully submerged (If you simmer over low heat, you won't have to add anymore milk).
While the wheat berries are on the stove, rinse 3/4 cups of poppy seeds thoroughly in a fine mesh sieve, drain well, and transfer to a medium sauce pan and add 3 cups water. Over medium heat, bring to a simmer (Don’t boil). Turn off. Cover with lid and let it sit for 30 min. Return to a simmer (don’t boil). Turn off. Cover and let it sit for another 30 minutes. Drain poppy seeds well through a colander or by keeping lid on and placing several layers of cheese cloth over lid to catch stray poppy seeds. Push the poppy seeds through a food grinder, using the fine grinding plate (You can also mill the poppy seeds in batches in a clean coffee grinder).
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Spread 2/3 cups of slivered almonds on a baking sheet and toast them for 5 minutes. Set them aside and reduce temperature to 325˚F.
When wheat berries get very tender, drain off the milk in a glass measuring cup. Keep 1/2 cup of the cooked milk and discard the rest. Combine 1/2 cup of honey with 1/2 cup of saved milk and stir until combined.
Place cooked wheat berries in a mixing bowl, add ground poppy seeds, 1/2 cup raisins, 2/3 cup dry chopped apricots, 2/3 cup toasted slivered almonds, honey-milk mixture and 1/8 tsp salt. Mix everything together and place in an casserole or pie dish, than bake your kutia for 20 min uncovered at 325˚F.
Remove kutia from the oven, cover with foil and let it rest 15 min. Serve warm or cold. The longer it sits, the more flavor it will have. Kutia will last in the fridge for a good 2 weeks.