Saturday, 17 May 2014

Nigvzis Torti (Georgian Walnut Raisin Torte)

This dessert is translated as a torte, generally a torte is a multi layered cake, layered with icing or cream. This is a bit of a different type of torte! It's still multi layered.... but almost all the rest of it is different :) The layers instead of light sweet cake are made of a denser pastry type dough. It's rolled out and layered with crunchy walnuts and super sweet raisins tossed in sugar and cinnamon. The whole thing is wrapped up in the top later of dough like a pie and then glazed with a grape juice syrup. The result is a delicious, crumby tea-cake like dessert which is not too sweet but with bursts of sweetness from the raisins. It was unlike anything that I have ever made or eaten before, truly! Even after years of writing for this blog and experimenting with different cuisines from all over the world - I still stumble upon things which are unlike any other I've made. It's one of the things I love about blogging.

In the end I took to calling it a pie instead of a torte, because of the cute way it's all wrapped up in the pastry. The traditional recipes use green grape juice for sweetener, which is commonly used as a sweetener in Georgian cuisine. In Australia though, I wasn't able to find it. The only grape juice available was red grape juice, which would have had a very different taste and appearance. So, I just blended some green grapes and strained the skins out.

Unless you're a Georgian, this might be quite unlike any recipe you've ever made either - but it's worth it. I thought it was delicious and went a treat with a hot cup of tea. It makes quite a big pie so invite a group of friends around for afternoon tea, or else just halve the recipe :)

Nigvzis Torti (Georgian Walnut Raisin Torte....Pie)

225g vegan margarine
1 cup sugar
1 cup plain or vanilla vegan yoghourt
3 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup green grape juice (I used fresh)

2 cups shelled walnuts
2 cups raisins
1/2 cup of sugar
1 generous tsp ground cinnamon

To Make:
1. Cream together the margarine and 1/2 cup of the sugar in a bowl and then beat in the yoghourt. Add the flour and stir well. Form into a ball of firm dough and then chill for about 5 hours (or overnight).
2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Toast the walnuts in the oven for 5-8 minutes, or until lightly browned (keep your eyes on them!), chop up the walnut and allow them to cool.
3. Toss the cooled walnuts with the remaining filling ingredients until the raisins and walnuts are coated in the cinnamon sugar.
4. Divide the dough into four even pieces (keeping the unused dough in the fridge until you're ready to use it). Roll the first piece into a disc about 20 inches in diameter and place it on a paper lined baking tray. Spread 1/3 of the filling mixture over it, leaving about an inch free around the edges.
5. Do the same with the next 2 portions of dough, and the remaining 2/3 of filling. When you roll out the last portion make it a little larger than the others, as it has to wrap around the whole thing. Place it over the top and tuck the edges in all around the pie, making a neat little dome. Cut five slits in the top to let the steam escape as it cooks. Cook the pie in the oven for 50 minutes. When done, remove from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes while you make the syrup.
6. Combine the grape juice and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a small saucepan and place over a medium heat. Simmer for 4-5 minutes, until a thickish syrup forms. Brush all over the cooked pie and let the whole thing cool to room temperature. 

Makes 1 large pie. Serve with tea!

This month I'm featuring recipes from Georgia.
Check out my other Georgian recipe posts:

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