Ukrainian Walnut-Stuffed Prunes: Empathy in the Kitchen

Ukrainian walnut-stuffed prunes (aracia mahshia-bil-goz) are easy enough for even very young children to prepare. Making this traditional Ukrainian dessert is also a fun kitchen activity for a rainy afternoon. These are good enough reasons to make these (somewhat healthy) treats with your child. But right now, there’s another reason to make these delectable Ukrainian walnut-stuffed prunes: cooking and eating regional foods makes us feel closer to those who live in those regions.

Right now, the people of the Ukraine are under siege. Preparing the cuisine of a far-away people, makes those people somehow more real in the eyes and hearts of our children. Make this dish together, and while you do, talk about what’s happening in Ukraine. Use simple explanations and reassure your child that she is safe.

Ukrainian girl holds flag in field of lupines
A photo of a child of a similar age to your own can be a great jumping-off point for discussing world events. Ask your child to talk about what life might have been like before and how it is now for the little Ukrainian girl in the photo.

Someday, your child will remember this time, and how you took pains to make a Ukrainian dish together. Your child will remember how you talked about the Ukrainian people and world events as you prepared and sampled this delicious dish.

It’s a lesson in empathy your child will never forget.

Ukrainian Walnut-Stuffed Prunes (Aracia Mahshia-Bil-Goz)

Desserts don’t have to be fancy to be scrumptious. Walnut-stuffed prunes are a prime example of an unpretentious dessert that is as simple to prepare as it is satisfying to eat. This is a great recipe to make with kids, because it takes no more than 20 minutes for a child to whip up a platter full of these treats. That means no waiting time for your child to eat what they’ve prepared. These yummy prunes are the very definition of instant gratification!

If your child is allergic to nuts, leave them out, and simply pour the condensed milk over the plumped-up prunes, and sprinkle with the grated chocolate. They will still be flavorsome and fun to eat. Not to mention Ukrainian.

Yield: 5 servings of 2 walnuts, each


  • 10 prunes
  • 10 walnut halves
  • ¼ cup condensed milk (or heavy cream mixed with 1 t. sugar and ¼ t. vanilla extract)
  • ¼ cup grated semisweet chocolate


  1. Pour warm water over prunes and allow to sit for 1-2 hours. (While the prunes are steeping, go look at photos of peacetime Ukraine together with your child on the internet. This will give your child a sense of a country that is beautiful and beloved by its people.)
  2. When the prunes are soft, drain off the water and pat the prunes dry.
  3. Place 1 walnut half into each prune. Repeat until all the prunes have been stuffed with walnuts
  4. Arrange the prunes in a serving dish and pour the condensed milk over the prunes to coat each one.
  5. Sprinkle with the grated chocolate, and serve!
  6. Place on a platter. Pour condensed milk over the prunes, trying to coat each one.
Found what you just read useful? Why not consider sending a donation to our Kars4Kids youth and educational programs. Or help us just by sharing!

Subscribe via email

About Varda Epstein

Varda Meyers Epstein serves as editor in chief of Kars4Kids Parenting. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Varda is the mother of 12 children and is also a grandmother of 12. Her work has been published in The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, The Learning Site, The eLearning Site, and Internet4Classrooms.