Our final international treat for our Global Dessert Tasting menu, based on Global Table Adventure's new year's food suggestions - is a nut candy from the Caucausus Mountains in Georgia. Normally we quickly eat a dozen grapes to accompany the strokes of the clock at midnight - in Spanish, or Portuguese, style - but this year, we'll be getting our 'grape' on with churchkhela, a Georgian grape confection.
While Sasha's recipe looks fantastic, I wanted to simplify and find a recipe that used grape juice instead of me having to puree and drain grapes overnight. I still needed 3-4 days for it to dry. And since we're an anti-walnut household (don't ask!), I went with pecans.
40 pecans, approximately
6 C grape juice
3/4 C organic granulated sugar
1 C flour
I didn't have a needle. But I always have sterling silver jewelry wire. So I improvised and threaded my "needle" with heavy-duty thread. Riley and I carefully threaded the pecans onto our thread, looping it when we were finished.
In a large pot, combine the grape juice and sugar. Bring to a boil, then very gradually whisk the flour into the heated juice. Bring to a boil, again, stirring constantly. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened slightly.
Rig something on which you can hang the nuts after they are dipped. I used a jewelry rack, but you can use a wire hanger or something like that. Be sure that there is something below that is either disposable or washable.
Dip the strand of nuts into the grape mixture, allowing the nuts to dry for 20-25 minutes or until the coating is slightly tacky. Return the nuts to the juice, which has been kept warm, and repeat the dipping process. Allow to dry again for 20-25 minutes or so. The drier the coating, the better the next layer will adhere.
Repeat the dipping process, 6 to 8 times, or until the nuts are completely coated. Leave to dry for 3 to 4 days, until the strands are no longer sticky to the touch. When dry, pull out the strings and dust it with confectioner's sugar.To serve, cut the delicacy into rounds.