Saturday, March 23, 2013

40 Days-40 Lenten Recipes # 6 Koliva

Koliva-is a traditional way to pray for, respect and offer one more gift of fervent prayers for those who have passed and for their salvation. The Orthodox faith is so rich in that services exist, not only out of tradition but also to offer healing and hope.
The wheat is a symbol of the resurrection, and eternal life.

Assemble what you need, whole white wheat berries, sometimes it's difficult to find if you don't have a Greek grocery nearby.  If going to a regular grocery it may be found in bulk bins, or health section.

There are many variations of ingredients, depending on what has been handed down to you, and for some which region they are originally from, this is my recipe.

2-5lb whole white wheat berries
1/2 c chopped walnuts
1/2 c silvered almonds
2 c white and black raisins
1 c chopped parsley
1 c pomegranates or pomegranate flavored dried cranberries
2 c graham crackers or baby cookies, or fine bread crumbs
1/8 c cinnamon
A couple dashes of cumin
1/4 c white granulated sugar

1c toasted sesame seed
4 c powdered confectioners sugar
1 lb white sugar-coated almonds

Depending how large a platter you plan on making, you will need 2 lb whole wheat berries for a large bowl, or 5 lb for a tray. Soak the wheat berries for 2 hours, change water and boil for 2 hours on medium.  Drain and dry overnight.  Spread it out evenly on a tray or table to dry.  

Combine first 8 ingredients and mix gently, then place in bowl or on a tray decorated with paper doilies.  Coat with sesame seeds, use a sheet of wax paper to smooth the seeds overtop. Then using a sifter, cover with powdered sugar. Decorate with almonds, raisins, white or silver nonpareils. Make a cross in the middle for Saturday of Souls.  Also remember, you may sift one layer of sugar if preparing the night before, just reserve some, to sift another layer in the morning as the wheat will absorb some of it. 
Usually best to combine and decorate in the morning. 
Get up early.

If this is for a 40 day Memorial its customary to place the initials of the loved one.

The cross on the Koliva to the far left, is handmade and from Greece. A gift from my Mom, who always wants us to be prepared, even for this.  It's quite beautiful and fragile. Made on cardboard covered with silver nonpareils and a mixture of glue and sugar. Very delicate and special.

Lord have Mercy.
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