Friday, 26 October 2007

Karidopita (Καρυδόπιτα - walnut pie)

Here is a party dessert that you can serve with ice-cream. I made it today because it is St Demetrius' Day, so my husband's celebrating his nameday today. It's a traditional Greek sweet, and it's unusual in that it doesn't contain flour. Walnuts added to a cake are also a firm favorite in Cretan cuisine, since there are so many walnut trees in the area.

You need:
250 g butter or margarine
6 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
3 cups ground walnuts
3 cups dry breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons of cinammon
1 wineglass of brandy
1 orange, both the juice and the rind
2 teaspoons of baking powder
Mix well the butter or margarine and the egg yolks with the sugar. Add the breadcrumbs and walnuts, along with the cinammon, brandy, baking powder and the grated rind of the orange.
In another bowl, beat till stiff the 6 egg whites, and add them to the batter. If the mixture looks too dry, add the juice of the orange, or the equivalent in milk if you prefer. Turn the batter into an oiled baking tin (or pyrex dish if you want to serve it in the pan it is cooked in) and cook in a moderate oven for 40 minutes.

For the syrup:
While the cake is cooking, boil up 3 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar along with a quarter of a lemon and a cinammon stick, till it becomes thick and syrupy. When the cooked cake comes out of the oven, cut it into squares (but don't lift the pieces out!), and pour the slightly cooled syrup over the cake. It may remind you of a baklava when you serve it, except of course that it isn't a pastry pie! Serve a piece of pie with a scoop of ice-cream; chocolate or vanilla go best.

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