This is a recipe from Neapolis in the south of the Peloponissos - it has varying degrees of success from great to absolutely wonderful. If you've got plenty of walnuts left over from Christmas, then you can try your hand at this traditional Greek walnut pie. It contains plenty of calories, so is not one for those on a diet.
Karidopitta - Walnut Pie
- 375g Flour
- 125g Butter
- 125g Sugar
- 175g Crushed walnuts (with some only partly crushed to give an extra bit of crunch)
- 5 Eggs (the source of the cholesterol)
- 2 tablespoons Baking powder
- 200ml Milk
- Grated peel of one mediumish orange
For the Syrup
- 250g Sugar
- 200ml Water
- 1 Lemon
For the Chef
- 1 Bottle of Eriythros white wine - nicely chilled
- 1 Glass
Beat the living daylights out of the butter and sugar. It helps if you're in a bad mood. When your anger is vented, open the wine and pour into the glass for immediate consumption.
Add the flour and the baking powder to the beaten butter and sugar mess, next add the eggs one at a time. Add the orange peel and, lastly, the milk.
Mix like mad, face and cheeks wobbling (it's great exercise) and when exhausted, sit down quickly and take another sip of the wine. Relax and add the crushed walnuts (not to the wine, to the beaten mixture) or get some help from the neighbours to do so, being careful to hide the wine from them.
Butter the insides and bottom of a reasonable-sized baking pan, whatever you have to hand, really. No need to rush out and buy a special one. Use non-stick if you want to go upmarket (or have rushed out to buy one) to save on washing up.
Give a light dusting of flour to the inside of the baking pan (you see, this is where the clever clogs using non-stick come unstuck, as the flour all drops to the bottom instead of forming a nice pattern around the inside of the pan). OK, if you're a non-sticker, miss a drink turn. If you have used your hands Greek style, and enjoyed every minute of greasing the pan and dusting it, then take a long draw on the wine and pour yourself some more - cooking must essentially be fun.
Place, or pour, whatever, the mixture into the pan, and bake in a low oven (not one that you have to bend over to get to, especially if you have been following the wine-tasting instructions, but one that is low in temperature) - 150°C should do it - for about 45 minutes or a little longer, if you feel it may be needed. It would help to preheat the oven.
While cooking, sit back and finish the bottle of wine and get ready another to accompany the karidopitta later.
Now prepare the syrup. Boil the water, sugar and lemon juice together for about 10 minutes or so, until the sugar is dissolved. You may add a touch of maple syrup, as a substitute for some of the sugar, if desired.
Slurp some more of the delicious Eriythros.
When cooked, and cooled (not you - the pie)- pour over the syrup, slowly and evenly. Serve after about two hours. If you like, a light dusting of icing sugar and the addition of a some walnut pieces to the top of the pie, adds a bit of delight to the eye - that's about all though, as it makes no difference at all to the flavour.
Ginger beer may be substituted for the wine, as a non alcoholic accompaniment.
For those who have followed the wine drinking instructions to the letter, however, try to say 'karidoppita is a better pitta than Pavlos pitta' - quickly.
From experience - this is a very forgiving mixture, the measurements are approximate. A little more of this and a little less of that, will not result in an Hellenic culinary disaster. The next time you make it (you will certainly wish to make more, if only for the Eriythros and ginger beer), adjustments and fine tuning to take account of personal taste of the recipe are recommended.