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kataifi pastry

Kataifi (ka-ta-e-fee), also known as shredded wheat dessert, Kataifi, along with the more well known Baklava, is one of the most popular and delicious Greek Desserts. It is made with a special type of pastry called kataifi or kadaifi. The pastry is like angel hair pasta and when rolled up resembles shredded wheat.  A delectable nutty centre is rolled inside crisp, thread like strands of pastry, baked, then soaked in a sweet syrup. Like many Greek dessert recipes a sweet syrup is poured over the cooked sweets, which keep them from drying out and preserves them. Some traditional Greek recipes use only almonds, but a mixture of walnuts, pistachios and almonds – even pecan nuts and pine nuts could also be used.

Kataifi should be treated in the same way as phyllo pastry with regards to thawing and storing.

450 g Kataifi pastry, thawed overnight
225 g butter, melted

50 g walnuts, finely chopped
50 g pistachios, finely chopped
50 g flaked almonds, finely chopped
125 ml sugar
5 ml ground cinnamon
1 ml ground cloves
1 egg white, lightly beaten

180 ml honey
500 ml sugar
625 ml water
1 cinnamon stick
rind of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170 ℃ and line a baking sheet with a Wizbake baking sheet.
  2. In a food processor, pulse your nut mixture until you’ve achieved a crumbly nut mixture. Empty into a bowl and mix in the remaining ingredients of the filling.
  3. Unroll the Kataifi pastry and work the pastry with your hands, tearing apart the shreds and gently spreading it out a bit.  Cover the Kataifi pastry with a damp towel.
  4. Work with one piece of pastry at a time and drizzle the surface of the Kataifi with melted butter.
  5. Spoon 15 ml of the nut mixture at one end of the Kataifi strip.
  6. Roll the strip up tightly into a small cylinder. Do the same with the rest of the pastry and filling.
  7. Pack the the assembled Kataifi rolls tighlty on the baking sheet and drizzle with some more of the melted butter.
  8. Bake for 1 hour. Allow to cool.
  9. To make the syrup, combine all the syrup ingredients in a saucepan and it bring to a boil, then simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes. Keep the syrup hot until your Kataifi has cooled from the oven.  The Kataifi must be cool and the syrup hot!
  10. Using a ladle, pour 3/4 of the hot syrup over the kataifi.
  11. Set the Kataifi aside for 10 minutes. Ladle the rest of the syrup over the kataifi and allow to cool before serving.
  12. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.