Žito sa Šlagom (Serbian Wheat Pudding)


Žito sa šlagom, a simple, hearty dessert of cooked ground wheat fortified with ground walnuts and sugar, is central to Serbian culture. It symbolizes life and death, and harvest and renewal. It's presented at special occasions such as Slava (the family's saint day), Christmas, and memorial services. Serve heaping tablespoons in very small, decorative bowls or custard cups, and top with a dollop of whipped cream.

Prep Time:
40 mins
Cook Time:
40 mins
Additional Time:
8 hrs
Total Time:
9 hrs 20 mins



  • 1 cup whole wheat berries

  • teaspoon salt

  • 3 ½ cups chopped walnuts

  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar

  • 2 tablespoons blanched slivered almonds


  • ¼ cup cold heavy whipping cream


  1. Make the pudding: Place wheat berries in a 3-quart saucepan; add boiling water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a rolling boil. Let boil for 15 seconds, then drain and discard the water. Repeat five times: add boiling water, bring to a boil, boil for 15 seconds, drain.

  2. Cover wheat berries again by 2 inches with boiling water. Stir in salt and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 seconds, then remove from the heat without draining. Place the pan on a folded blanket, cover, and wrap with towels or blankets. Let sit at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight.

  3. The next day, drain any water that hasn't been absorbed. Grind wheat berries thoroughly in a food processor. (If you use a blender, work in very small batches.) Transfer ground wheat to a bowl and clean the food processor.

  4. Grind walnuts in the food processor until fine. Add confectioners' sugar and process until mixture resembles fine meal. Add ground wheat and pulse until well combined.

  5. Spoon pudding into a glass trifle bowl or serving dish. Stick slivered almonds into pudding to resemble a porcupine.

  6. Make the topping: Beat cream in a chilled glass or metal bowl with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.

  7. Serve pudding in 2-tablespoon portions in small decorative bowls or custard cups. Top each serving with whipped cream.


White wheat berries are preferable to hard red winter wheat berries. You could also substitute whole spelt berries or farro.

Keep a kettle of boiling water on hand while boiling the wheat berries, and continue to refill and heat as needed.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

86 Calories
5g Fat
9g Carbs
2g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 24
Calories 86
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5g 7%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 2mg 1%
Sodium 6mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 10mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 50mg 1%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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