Author Nektaria Anastasiadou had the audacity to set her debut novel in the most sacred of all cities for Greeks and employ its revered history and urban landscape as the backdrop for an endearing story of love and food. And her boldness has paid rich dividends.
Anastasiadou’s novel “Recipe for Daphne” is a beautifully written story set in present-day Istanbul that tells how two Greek men vie for the hand of Daphne, a young American.
Prominent Greek American historian and professor of history Alexander Kitroeff wrote a review of her book for The Pappas Post. And the author herself has generously shared recipes from her book.
“My mother always said that women who put peppercorns in their liqueur are looking for something,” says the character Fanis in the novel while serving this sour cherry liqueur to his friend Murat.
“Although peppercorns are optional, you will find a variation of this liqueur in almost every Istanbul Rum home,” Anastasiadou said.
The ingredients and instructions for how to make sour cherry liqueur follow below.
- 2 lbs. whole sour cherries
- 2 cups sugar (if you like a sweeter taste you can use up to 2 cups)
- 2 Turkish coffee cups ethyl alcohol for food use (5-6oz)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 cloves
- 4 whole peppercorns
- 1/4 lemon
- 2 inch piece of ginger, skin removed
In a large jar, mix the whole sour cherries with sugar and all other ingredients except the alcohol. Close tightly and let the mixture sit in the sun or on a warm windowsill for at least two weeks, agitating periodically.
After two weeks, add two Turkish coffee cups of alcohol, mix well, and leave to sit at least another two weeks, agitating periodically.
Taste after one month and add sugar or alcohol according to preference (you can also let it brew longer if desired). Strain and serve with one whole cherry in the bottom of each glass.
The remaining cherries can be returned to the jar and kept for use in cakes or other sweets.
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