Karydopita – Traditional Walnut Pie

While Karydopita is baking in the oven, this all-time, classic Greek desert sends its special blends of aromas — cinnamon, cloves, orange, and of course, walnut —out into every corner of your home. It is a veritable potpourri of autumn scents. I have tried many recipes but this is the best ever!

Karydopita – Traditional Walnut Pie


200 g butter, unsalted
1 cup white sugar
7 fresh eggs, separated
1 orange, zest

1⁄2 cup Brandy
4 cups walnuts, crumbled
2 cups thin semolina
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of salt

For the syrup:

21⁄2 cups white sugar
21⁄2 cups water
thick rind of half a lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1⁄2 cup Brandy


1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F). Butter a 35 cm round baking pan.

2. In a stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, beat together the butter and the sugar at a medium-high speed — until pale and fluffy — about 6 to 7 minutes. Add the egg yolks, one by one, and mix until blended. Add the orange rind and the Brandy.

3. Walnut mixture: In a big bowl combine the walnuts, semolina, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Add to the egg mixture to combine. Continue beating for a minute at a low rhythm, until blended.

4. In a clean bowl, using your stand mixer with a wire whisk, beat the egg whites until stiff. Add 3 tablespoons of the walnut mixture and blend. With a spatula, gently fold into the mixture the rest of the egg whites.

5. Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake in the preheated oven, for 35 to 40 minutes.

6. In the meanwhile make the syrup: Combine the water, sugar, lemon rind and cloves in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil and stir over a medium- high heat. Adjust heat to maintain a simmer until it becomes a light syrup, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the lemon rind and cloves. Let cool.

7. Lightly score the pie with the edge of a sharp knife in 5 to 6 cm squares. Carefully pour the syrup on top.

“Although the walnut cake can be eaten when cooled, it is best to let it sit in its syrupy juices for awhile (I try to leave mine 2 hours) so that it can soak up the wonderful qualities of the spices.”