Greek Koufeta (Wedding Almond “taffy” from Cyclades Islands)

Total Time
50mins
Prep 20 mins
Cook 30 mins

Every Greek wedding boasts sweet almonds koufeta. In most cities and towns nowadays, wedding guests receive sugar encrusted white Jordan almonds, gathered in packets of white tulle tied with ribbon and decorated with tiny silk flowers. The number must be odd; usually nine almonds per packet, but sometimes seven or even five. But on the Cycladic islands, in villages far from cities and lacking the sweet shops in which to purchase sugared almonds, an older version of wedding koufeta remains. Here, a day or so before the wedding, all the female relatives of the bride gather to make a taffy-like sweet of blanched almonds cooked in honey and brandy.

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 14 teaspoon orange blossom water
  • 1 12 cups blanched whole almonds (about 10 ounces)

Directions

  1. Pour the honey, brandy, and orange blossom water into a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir, reduce the heat, and gently boil until the mixture is the color of burnished mahogany and spins off a spoon, 240°F on a candy thermometer, about 30 minutes.
  2. Stir in the almonds and bring to a boil again. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool until it is no longer bubbling. Turn it out onto a large plate, allowing the almonds to spread out evenly. Cool until the mixture is thick enough to spoon up in “globs,” several hours or overnight.
  3. To serve, offer each diner a clean spoon or knife as you pass the platter of koufeta around. Each person slides the knife or spoon into the taffy and spins the implement until a scoop of the koufeta takes hold. The koufeta is then eaten off the knife or spoon. Serves 10 to 20.
  4. NOTES: Koufeta will keep, covered at room temperature for up to 2 days.
  5. Some villages add a little toasted sesame seed in the koufeta mixture or sprinkle it on top once the mixture is poured onto the platter.
  6. Adventures in Greek cooking.

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