Kutia Recipe (Wheat Berry Pudding) (2024)

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Kutia is a traditional Slavic Christmas Eve dish. It contains whole wheat berries, poppy seeds and honey as well as a selection of nuts and dried fruit. This Christmas Eve dessert is simple to make though requires a bit of preparation time.

Kutia Recipe (Wheat Berry Pudding) (1)

Kutia (or ‘kutya’) is a traditional Christmas Eve dish popular in Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and Poland. The Polish version of this dish originated in the eastern part of Poland, and was popularised throughout the country after WWII when the eastern borders changed and many Poles had to move west. Among them were my great grandparents, and so in my family, as in many others, the tradition of serving kutia for Christmas has survived to this day.

As with other traditional and popular dishes, such as borscht or potato salad, countless versions of kutia exist, varying from one family to the next. This kutia recipe is a combination of childhood memories and personal preference. You can add or omit certain ingredients to suit your taste as long as you include the 3 essential ones: wheat berries, poppy seeds and honey.

Kutia ingredients and preparation

Wheat berries form the basis of every kutia. Wheat berry is a whole wheat kernel which has a dark yellow-brownish colour and is available in health food stores, occasionally supermarkets as well as Polish shops (especially around Christmas time).

Cooking times may vary ranging from 1 to 3 hours depending on whether it’s a soft processed or hard grain (most of the time it will be the former). So check the label of your product as well as use your own judgment.

I recommend soaking the berries overnight, rinsing, then cooking them gently in 1.5 cups of water. They are ready when most of the water has been absorbed, the wheat has expanded and is tender.

Kutia Recipe (Wheat Berry Pudding) (2)

Poppy seeds are another essential kutia ingredient. Methods of preparation can vary from one recipe to the next. While some people prefer to soak and cook the poppy seeds others recommend just soaking them in hot water.

You can also cook (or soak) the poppy seeds in either water or milk, with or without sugar. The seeds need to then be turned into a sticky paste, which you can achieve by grinding them in a coffee grinder or pushing through a food grinder. But I am using an easier and quicker method.

I recommend rinsing then soaking the poppy seeds overnight. The next day rinse them again and cover with 1 cup of boiling water. Drain after 30 minutes, rinse again, combine with the cream and blitz until creamy (but still grainy). I used a stick blender to do this.

Other kutia ingredients include dried fruit and nuts, but you can mix and match and simply use your favourite. Traditional dried fruit used to make kutia are raisins but some recipes also recommend chopped apricots and/or dates. I’ve stuck to tradition (more or less) and used sultanas, as they have a nice tang that offsets the sweetness in this recipe.

As for nuts blanched almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts are all popular. I chose to add chopped almonds and hazelnuts to my kutia.

How to make Polish kutia: step-by-step

1.Rinse the wheat berries, place in a bowl, add 2 cups of water and soak overnight. Rinse the poppy seeds through a fine mesh sieve, place in another bowl, add 1-1.5 cup of water and soak overnight.

Kutia Recipe (Wheat Berry Pudding) (3)

2. The following day drain and rinse the wheat berries again, place in a pot, add 1.5 cups of water, cover and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for at least 1 hour or until most of the water has been absorbed, the berries have increased in volume and are tender. Drain and set aside to cool.

Kutia Recipe (Wheat Berry Pudding) (4)

3. Meanwhile prepare the dried fruit by combining it with the orange juice and soaking for at least an hour. Stir the mixture occasionally.

Kutia Recipe (Wheat Berry Pudding) (5)

4. Prepare the poppy seeds by rinsing again, then soaking in 1 cup of boiling water for 30 minutes. Drain, rinse again and combine with the cream. Puree the mixture (I used a hand blender to do this) until it thickens and becomes creamy but is still a little grainy.

Kutia Recipe (Wheat Berry Pudding) (6)

5. In a mixing bowl combine the wheat berries (once cooled), the poppy seed mixture, raisins along with the juice, honey, chopped almonds and hazelnuts, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and orange zest.

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6. Stir thoroughly, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or overnight). Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before serving.

Kutia Recipe (Wheat Berry Pudding) (8)

Top tips

  • Cooking time for the wheat berries can range from 1 to 3 hours. They are ready when they’ve absorbed most of the water, have increased in volume and are tender but still a little chewy.
  • Dried fruit: Use raisins, sultanas, apricots or dates. You can soak them in water (cold or hot) instead of orange juice if you prefer.
  • Nuts: Use hazelnuts, almonds and/or walnuts. Chop them up as finely as you like before adding into the dish.
  • Make it dairy free: You can use any non-dairy milk (almond or hazelnut would work well).
  • Keep refrigerated (for up to 3 days) and chill for at least 4 hours before serving. Kutia is traditionally eaten as Christmas Eve dessert. Serve in small bowls (this dessert is quite filling).
Kutia Recipe (Wheat Berry Pudding) (9)

You might also like

  • Polish Christmas Eve Porcini Dumplings (Uszka)
  • Polish Dried Fruit Compote Recipe (Christmas)
  • Fish with Vegetables (Polish Ryba po Grecku)
  • Polish Poppy Seed Cake (Makowiec)
  • Polish Sauerkraut Pierogi (Kapusta) Dumplings

Keep in touch!

If you make this Christmas kutia recipe I’d love to know how it turned out for you. Let me know in the comments below, thanks!

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Recipe

Kutia Recipe (Wheat Berry Pudding) (10)

Kutia Recipe (Wheat Berry Pudding)

Kutia is a traditional dish served as part of the Polish Christmas Eve feast. It contains whole wheat berries, poppy seeds as well as a selection of nuts and dried fruit.

5 from 4 votes

Print Pin Rate

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: Ukrainian

Prep Time: 10 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour hour

Total Time: 13 hours hours

Servings: 8 servings

Calories: 393kcal

Author: Monika Dabrowski

Ingredients

  • cup (100 g) poppy seeds 3.53oz
  • cup (160 g) wheat berries 5.64oz
  • cup+1tbsp (130 g) runny honey 4.59oz
  • ¾ cup (130 g) raisins/sultanas 4.59oz
  • ½ orange juice plus zest
  • ½ cup less 1tbsp (100 ml) single cream/light cream/half and half
  • ½ cup (80 g) blanched almonds chopped, 2.82oz
  • cup (80 g) blanched hazelnuts chopped, 2.82oz
  • tablespoons lemon juice
  • Water for soaking see Instructions

Instructions

  • Rinse the wheat berries, place in a bowl, add 2 cups of water and soak overnight. Rinse the poppy seeds through a fine mesh sieve, place in another bowl, add 1-1.5 cup of water and soak overnight.

  • The following day drain and rinse the wheat berries again, place in a pot, add 1.5 cups of water, cover and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for at least 1 hour or until most of the water has been absorbed, the berries have increased in volume and are tender. Drain and set aside to cool.

  • Meanwhile prepare the dried fruit by combining it with the orange juice and soaking for at least an hour. Stir the mixture occasionally.

  • Prepare the poppy seeds by rinsing again (after you've soaked them overnight), then soaking in 1 cup of boiling water for 30 minutes. Drain, rinse again and combine with the cream. Puree the mixture (I used a hand blender to do this) until it thickens and becomes creamy but is still a little grainy.

  • In a mixing bowl combine the wheat berries (once cooled), the poppy seed mixture, raisins along with the juice, honey, chopped almonds and hazelnuts, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and orange zest. Stir thoroughly, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or overnight). Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • Cooking time for the wheat berries can range from 1 to 3 hours. They are ready when they’ve absorbed most of the water, have increased in volume and are tender but still a little chewy.
  • Dried fruit: Use raisins, sultanas, apricots or dates. You can soak them in water (cold or hot) instead of orange juice if you prefer.
  • Nuts: Use hazelnuts, almonds and/or walnuts. Chop them up as finely as you like before adding into the dish.
  • Make it dairy free: You can use any non-dairy milk (almond or hazelnut would work well).
  • Keep refrigerated (for up to 3 days) and chill for at least 4 hours before serving. Kutia is traditionally eaten as Christmas Eve dessert. Serve in small bowls (this dessert is quite filling).

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 393kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 15mg | Potassium: 393mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 145IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 240mg | Iron: 3mg

*Nutritional information is automatically generated and should be considered as an estimate.

**A note about baking: If using a fan-assisted oven refer to your appliance's instructions and adjust the temperature accordingly.

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Kutia Recipe (Wheat Berry Pudding) (2024)
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