Churchkhela and other Georgian Desserts
23 December 2017
Churchkhela is a traditional sausage-shaped candy made by repeatedly dipping a long string of nuts in tatara (a mixture of flour, sugar and Badagi - concentrated fresh grape juice). Georgians usually make Churchkhela in the autumn when grapes and nuts are harvested. Churchkhela can also be made with dried fruit (such as peach, apple or plum) and pumpkin seeds. Churchkhela is extremely delicious and energizing. It is a well-known fact that Georgian soldiers used to consume them when they went to the battle.
Gozinaki is a traditional Georgian confection made of fried walnuts caramelized in honey. You can also use almonds or other kind of nuts. This candy is a perfect holiday gift for friends or neighbors. It is versatile, tasty and beautiful.
Pelamushi is a favorite Georgian dessert made mainly with condensed grape juice (badagi). Pelamushi can be made with wheat flour or wheat flour plus corn flour. In this recipe we use the classical method of making pelamushi with flour and badagi, which is suitable for making churchkhela. These can be made with purple or white grape juice, but Concord juice gives the puddings a nice, rich color. Georgian families often grow their own grapes and crush them during rtveli, the autumn grape harvest, to make wine.
Adjarian Pakhlava also known as baklava is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo (thin unleavened dough) filled with chopped nuts, sweetened and held together with syrup or honey. It is a staple of Turkish cuisine and is also found in Central and Southwest Asia. This sweet pastry is very popular in Georgia as well.
Kada is popular pastry in Georgia. Basically there are two types of kada - salty and sweet. Each region of Georgia has its own special recipe of preparing it. Sweet kada also varies by technique and shape. There is plain round kada, layered kada, which is cut before it is baked, and also small kada pies.
Tkhlapi is a traditional Georgian pureed fruit roll-up leather. It is spread thinly onto a sheet and sun-dried on a clothesline. It can be sour or sweet. Sweet Tklapi is made of apricots or peaches. It can also be prepared from the juice that is used in making Churchkhela.