My word, this is a fun little recipe. I’ve been reading about food and cooking for many, many years, and am always thrilled to discover at this late date an entirely new (to me) way of preparing a standard ingredient. Wheat berries. Plump little nuggets of goodness. Love them in salads. Love them as savory sides. Love them each and every way that I’ve cooked them. But thanks to Maria Speck and her version of Greek koliva, I now have a new way to use them (after making a few alterations of my own).
This is a bit like a granola, or maybe a trail mix. A spiced mixture that can be scooped up with the fingers and eaten on the spot. If you have a craving for an afternoon snack, perhaps something sweet, then this will satisfy it wonderfully, but without imparting the slightest twinge of guilt. The sweetness comes from the raisins and spices (while the unnoticeable powdered sugar serves merely to smooth and mellow). Though we ate the first batch as prepared, yes with our fingers, I do have other plans for the next batch. I’m thinking warm milk. Warm a little milk, pour it over a bowl of the koliva, and breathe deeply as the scent of warm spices instantly rises. Mmmmm…….
Spiced Wheat Berry Snack
1 cup soft white wheat berries
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 T whole wheat flour
1/3 cup raisins
2 T powdered sugar
Simmer the wheat berries in plenty of salted water until they are tender to the bite, but not mushy, about 50 minutes. Drain the berries very well, and spread them out on a large plate or tray. Blot them as dry as possible with a kitchen towel. Allow them to cool, and dry further, about an hour.
In a small bowl stir together the cinnamon, cumin, and 1/4 tsp of fine salt. Set aside. Heat a heavy pan or skillet over medium heat. Toast the walnuts, stirring or tossing frequently, until they are toasted, about 3 minutes. Remove them from the pan. Return the pan to the heat and sprinkle the flour over the surface. Stir for 30 seconds. Add the wheat berries and stir until the flour is evenly distributed, about 1 minute. Add the reserved spice blend, the walnuts, and the raisins. Stir to incorporate, until the mixture is heated through and the spices are fragrant, another minute or so.
Remove from the heat. Stir in the powdered sugar 1 T at a time. Eat warm, as is, or cool to room temperature. Store in a tightly-sealed container.