Byzantine Toffee Recipe

Called Grouta Apostolika, this toffee inspired by medieval recipes has a chocolatey flavor than can be customized with cinnamon or nutmeg for a kick.



Winter 2012/2013

  • This is as close to a dark chocolate flavor as you are likely to come in medieval cookery.
    Photo by Brian Dunne

Yield: Approximately 25 pieces

The literal name of this medieval Cypriot confection is “candy of the apostles,” referring in part to the local custom of calling carobs kyamos Abrahami or “the bean of Abraham” and of course its biblical association with St. John the Baptist. This is as close to a dark chocolate flavor as you are likely to come in medieval cookery. The confection is near black in color but can be pulled like taffy before it cools. Anise, cinnamon, and nutmeg are spices that can be added. Before it hardens, the candy also shapes easily in wooden molds — thus it can be pressed into figures representing St. John or some other venerated individual. The images on the wooden molds were generally copied from popular icons or from symbols used in religious rituals.

For more about CAROB, see: The Universality of Carob

Ingredients:

• 4 tablespoons barley flour
• 3 tablespoons sesame oil
• 1 cup carob syrup
• 1 tablespoon honey

Instructions:

1. Heat the barley flour in the sesame oil in a heavy saucepan and cook it until it turns golden yellow.

2. Add the carob syrup and honey, pouring them gradually and stirring all the while.

3. Boil hard for about 15 minutes or until thick and ropy and reaches the soft ball stage (230 degrees F). Pour this into a greased pan or onto a lightly greased marble slab.

4. Once cool enough to handle, form into a long rope about half an inch thick. When cool, take a very sharp knife and cut into 2-inch segments.

5. Store between sheets of wax paper in an air-tight container.


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