Sweet Wheat Pudding / Colivă

Report Violation

1 of 2 Photos Dan Petra

2 of 2 Photos Dan Petra
Upload Pic
Posted By: Dan Petra
Posted In:  Holidays
Page Views:  9419 views
Preparation Time:  60 minutes
Cooking Time:  120 minutes
Course: breakfast

Other Info

servings: 10-20





1 â…“ c

Whole grain wheat

¼ kg

1 Tbs


1 Tbs


Orange (zest only)



Lemon (zest only)


¼ c


50 g

2 c

Walnuts (ground)

240 g

As needed

Shortbread cookies

As needed

As needed

Powdered sugar

As needed


1. Rinse the wheat several times and pick out any small rocks (look carefully). Soak the wheat overnight.               

2. When the wheat is done soaking, rinse again and discard water.

3. Put the wheat in a large pot and add water to one inch above grains, and boil.

4. While the water heats, grate the zest from the lemon and orange.

5. When water is boiling, add zests and vanilla. Stir well to be sure nothing is sticking.

6. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and boil until the wheat is soft – like rice. Check frequently, and stir to keep wheat from burning or sticking. Depending on your wheat, it can take from 1-3 hours to cook.

7. While the wheat cooks, crush or very finely chop the walnuts. Also crush some short bread cookies. Set these two aside, separately.

8. When the wheat is done, remove from the heat and let it cool (if there is a lot of water left, you will need to pour it off, a little water will be absorbed as the wheat cools).

9. When the wheat is approximately room temperature, mix in the sugar and walnuts.

10. Spoon the mixture onto a platter and shape it into a round shape with a flat top. Cover with the crushed cookies and sprinkle with a bit more powdered sugar. Serve at room temperature, or cold.


Notes: This traditional Romanian dish is specific to ethnic Romanians and holds special importance as food for the dead, in the Orthodox faith. Widows and close friends of the deceased will prepare this dish to take to church for a funeral, or celebration in honor of someone who has died. Some of the more accomplished cooks will decorate their Colivă with a cross motif using a stencil and cocoa powder. At the church, the community will go through a special ritual where they all join hands and “bounce” their hands (for lack of a better word). They also “bounce” the food. The priest then blesses the food, and at the end of the service the food is divided up among the people present. The more people attend these ceremonies, the better it is for the people being remembered – so if you happen upon an Orthodox church during this ritual, you may be asked to participate. Don’t be shy, it’s quite a beautiful experience, and the food is always good!


Variations: To enjoy this tasty dish outside its traditional context, some volunteers choose to skip the decoration with sugar and crushed cookies and serve Colivă as a breakfast porridge. In the winter, Colivă is very nice served warm with yogurt, cream or ice cream as an after dinner treat. Some Romanian families include cinnamon in their Colivă – which is a nice addition.


Added By : Christina on 2011-03-13 11:44:04
This traditional food is usually prepared for the days we comemorate our dead ones - special religious holidays. On these days mostly women bring to the church coliva and other kind of food as bread, fruits, cakes, and so on, or even cooked meals such as sarmale and a bottle of wine.
All these are blessed during the liturgical service and then they are given to the poor, friends, neighbours or members of the family.
Can be an excelent and very healty dessert.