in Breakfast, Desserts, Recipes

Recipe by Nancy Krcek Allen

Kutya is a sweet grain pudding, traditionally served in Ukraine at Christmas.

1-1/2 cups wheat berries, soaked in warm water 24 hours
4-1/2 cups water, more as needed
3/4 cup poppy seeds
1/2 cup honey, to taste
2/3 cup toasted walnuts, lightly chopped
1/2 cup raisins

  1. Strain soaked wheatberries, and pour into a medium pot with 4-1/2 cups water. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover pot, and simmer until berries are tender but whole, 2 to 3 hours.  Add more boiling water as necessary to keep kernels covered.
  2. Pour poppyseeds into heat-proof mixing bowl. Cover with boiling water 1 minute, drain, and cover with lukewarm water. Soak 30 minutes, drain and pulse-grind in a food processor until broken and milky. Set aside.
  3. Drain water from wheatberries; reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water. Stir honey into reserved cooking water and mix well. Set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Mix wheatberries, honey mixture to taste, ground poppy seeds, walnuts, raisins, and season with salt. Pour into a 2-quart casserole, and bake uncovered, 20 minutes. Serve kutya warm, cold or room temperature. Kutya is best when prepared several days ahead for the full flavor to develop. Kutya may be refrigerated one week.

The last step of baking kutya in a casserole may be omitted; simply mix all ingredients together and rest overnight. Serves 8-12.