There’s a light side to this big, fat Greek dessert
This tasty Greek dessert, known as karithopita, is a moist walnut cake traditionally soaked in syrup, making it very rich. Without the syrup, however, it’s very light and can be served with a fruit compote or a little sweetened yogurt.
For the syrup:
3⁄4 cup of sugar
1 cup of water
1⁄2 cup honey
4 whole cloves
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 lemon zest strip
For the cake:
1⁄2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1⁄3 cup sugar
6 large eggs, separated
1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch of salt
21⁄2 cups ground walnuts
1 tablespoon orange zest
To make the syrup, in a saucepan combine the sugar, the water and the honey. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add the cloves and lemon strip, reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and discard cloves and orange. Let cool completely.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly butter and flour a 9-by-12-by-3-inch cake pan.
Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until fully incorporated.
In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ground cloves and salt. Fold into egg mixture. Fold in nuts and zest.
Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Stir 1⁄3 into batter to lighten it, then gently fold in remaining whites. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake until dark golden brown and springs back when touched, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately pour cooled syrup over the cake. Let cool completely in the pan.
To serve, cut into 12 to 16 squares.
Phil Newton is a Galveston baker/cook. He’s the owner/operator of Stiglich Corner with partner Cindy Roberts.