Originally, kutia was eaten only in eastern Poland where it borders with Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania, but today it is becoming more popular throughout the entire country. The ingredients are variable depending on taste, availability of ingredients and budget.
There are hundreds of variations for kutia and it exists in other cultures including Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, and Slovakia. (Serbia - koljivo, Romania - coliva, Bulgaria - kolivo, Greece - kollyva, Middle East - kahmieh, Armenia - anoushabour, Old English - frumenty). Here is a larger photo of kutia.
Makes 6 servings Polish Christmas Cooked Wheat Pudding - Kutia
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 4 hours
- Note: Wheat berries are available at health food stores and online, but kamut berries, whole-grain barley or rice can be substituted (cooking time must be adjusted) with good effect.
- 1 cup wheat berries or kamut berries, rinsed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup poppyseeds
- 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
- 4 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2/3 cup plumped raisins
- 1/2 cup ground walnuts (optional)
- 1/2 cup coarsely ground blanched almonds (optional)
- 5 plumped figs, chopped (optional)
- 5 plumped dates, chopped (optional)
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- Place rinsed wheat berries in a large pot or Dutch oven and cover with water by about 5 inches. Stir, cover and let stand overnight.
- When ready to cook, drain the wheat berries, rinse, drain again and place back in the pot. Add 6 cups cold water and salt, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until tender (anywhere from 90 minutes to 3 hours). Drain and set aside to cool.
- Prepare poppyseeds by placing them in a saucepan with water to cover by several inches. Stir and let stand 20 minutes. Pour off any impurities that rise to the surface, then drain through a sieve, rinse under cold water and drain again. Return poppyseeds to the saucepan and scald with boiling water to cover by an inch. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. Place saucepan on burner, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Poppyseeds are ready when they can be pulverized between the fingers. Drain and grind once in a poppyseed grinder or 3 times in a regular grinder.
- In a large bowl, combine cooled, cooked wheat, ground poppyseeds, confectioners' sugar, honey, vanilla, zest, raisins and some or all of the following, if using -- walnuts, almonds, figs and dates. Mix well and add half-and-half, incorporating thoroughly. Refrigerate until ready to serve.