In Greek: γλυκό καρύδι, pronounced ghlee-KOH kah-REE-thee
This fabulous spoon sweet is made in many places around Greece, and walnuts from Arcadia (Peloponnese) are famous.
The recipe is time-consuming since the walnuts have to soak a good while to remove the bitterness. This recipe adds the tastes of cinnamon and cloves.
Depending on the tree and climate, green (immature) walnuts are generally harvested in late spring or autumn. Take care to choose walnuts that have not yet started to form the internal shell.
- 2 pounds of green walnuts
- 2 pounds of sugar
- 2 1/2 cups of water
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 8 whole cloves
- 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Note: The green skin of the raw walnuts will stain hands, clothing, and possibly work surfaces. Rubber or plastic gloves, an apron, and a plastic covering over wood work surface are all good ideas, until the walnuts have cooked.
Using a vegetable peeler, remove the thin outer peel of the walnuts, transferring the walnuts immediately to a bowl of water to cover. (Alternatively, use a serrated knife and scrape the external skin.) If there is any bony material at the top and bottom of the walnuts, remove with a sharp knife.
Pierce the walnuts with a knitting needle or skewer all the way through, top to bottom (starting at the stem end).
Add walnuts and enough water to cover to a pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes. Discard the water and repeat with fresh cold water. Repeat several times until the walnuts have softened (3-4 times).
Drain the walnuts and place in a clean pot or pan with fresh water to cover. Soak the walnuts for 2 days (48 hours), changing the water every 8 hours. This removes any bitter taste.
In a pot, stir the sugar into the 2 1/2 cups of water and boil for 8 minutes (from the time full boil is reached). Drain the walnuts that have been soaking and add to the syrup. Boil for 5-6 minutes, remove from heat, and let sit for 24 hours.
Return the pot to the stove and bring to a boil over high heat. Skim off any foam that may rise to the top. When the syrup has thickened enough, add cinnamon, cloves, and lemon juice, remove from heat, and allow to cool to room temperature.
When completely cooled, store in sterilized jars.
When is the syrup ready? To test for thickness, drop a small amount of syrup on a plate. Touch it with the back of a metal spoon and lift the spoon. If "threads" appear, the syrup is ready.
Make a lot: This recipe is for an intentionally small quantity and can be multiplied proportionately. This spoon sweet tastes fabulous and disappears quickly so, if you have access to great quantities of green walnuts, make a lot!