Ekmek Kataifi is a delicious Greek dessert with shredded phyllo and nuts, bathed in syrup topped with pastry cream and whipped cream.
Today is my mum’s memorial day, she died 15 years ago but it also coincides with my brother’s memorial as it is six months since he left us, so it’s a very emotional day for me but so long as we remember them, they will always stay alive. May they both RIP.
Subconsciously I chose this recipe to post today as my mum loved making spoon sweets (fruit preserves) and she always added some on the puddings she made.
This recipe may well be called an Ekmek Kataifi but when I made this recipe over a year ago I had leftover kataifi, so I just improvised and made this recipe without knowing what I was doing. I had heard of Ekmek before but I hadn’t eaten it before and was under the impression that it was a usual kataifi recipe, served with ice cream.
For those of you who don’t know what kataifi is, it is shredded phyllo. In Athens, there are still some workshops where you can buy fresh kataifi, but you can also buy it frozen in supermarkets.
The strands of kataifi are pressed to each other, when packed, so before making the dessert, you have to fluff it up by just pulling the strands. Like other kinds of phyllo, if exposed to air for a long time, it will dry out, so when preparing it keep it covered with a napkin or cling film.
See how to make kataifi in the video that follows:
The classic recipe for Kataifi is that after the kataifi strands are fluffed up, pounded nuts (it could be almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans) mixed with sugar and cinnamon are made into a roll, wet with clarified butter and baked. It is then bathed in a sugar syrup.
The kataifi I had was leftover from another recipe and it wasn’t enough to make the classic recipe, so I just layered half of it on a baking tin, added the nuts and the remaining on top and then baked it.
I didn’t bother to make a sugar syrup because I love making spoon sweets and have never wasted a drop of that delicious syrup. In fact, I always make more than is needed to preserve the fruit, so that I can make use of it in recipes, as it is far better than making a quick syrup because it is full of the flavour of the fruit used and I am sure that in the future you will be seeing others making desserts using leftover spoon sweet syrups.
For those who have already bought my cookbook, I have added a citrus spoon sweet in the cookbook and based on that recipe you can make other citrus spoon sweets as well.
This time of the year I usually make citrus spoon sweets which are called “glyka tou koutaliou” in Greek. Last year I had made an orange spoon sweet and this year I made thiss dessert twice.
Before Christmas I made it with oranges, bitter oranges and lemons and just a few days ago, I made more, this time using bergamots as well. I have added a few recipes using leftover syrup in my cookbook but I always give the recipe for the syrup if you want to make it from scratch.
I wonder how many times I have used the word leftover in this recipe. Nothing is wasted, so when making the spoon sweet, the zest is collected in ice cubes and frozen to be used in desserts, like this one.
On top of the baked kataifi, I added the orange pastry cream mixed with whipped cream, similar to the cream I had made to fill the puff pastry horns, and when it set I decorated it with the remaining whipped cream and orange spoon sweet.
There are no words to describe this delicious, aromatic, fruity dessert, which is so light and delicious. We were so eager to eat it after lunch that I removed the spring form ring before it had properly set. It turned out very light, smooth and rich without being very sweet.
Emek Kataifi Orange Pudding
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: about 25 minutes
- 200 grams kataifi dough
- 115 grams butter, clarified
- 100 grams almonds, pounded
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons sugar
For the pastry cream:
- 1 litre (about 4 1/2 cups) whole fresh milk
- 100 grams (about 5 heaped tbsp) corn flour (starch)
- 100 grams sugar (about 6 heaped tbsp) sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon orange liqueur
- 1 tsp orange zest
For whipped cream:
- 300 ml heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
- 3 – 4 tablespoons icing sugar
For the syrup:
- Orange spoon sweet syrup
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup thyme honey (or 1 cup sugar)
- 1 cup water
- 1 orange peel
- 1 piece of whole cinnamon
- 2 – 3 cloves
- 1 tbsp of orange liqueur
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 180o C / 350o
Prepare the syrup:
- Put all the ingredients in a small pot. Mix to dissolve sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and keep simmering for 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and liqueur and mix. Set aside to cool and discard the lemon peel, cinnamon and cloves.
Prepare the clarified butter: Instructions here.
- Heat the butter in a small pan over low heat until it melts. The butter will separate in three parts, foam, oil and milk solids. Skim off the foam with a spoon and use the oil without disturbing the milk solids.
- Fluff up the kataifi and put half of it in the bottom of a 33 x 20 x 6 / 13 x 9 x 2.5 inches Pyrex. Add half of the clarified butter here and there.
- Pound the almonds and add the sugar and cinnamon and after mixing, sprinkle on top of the kataifi. (Reserve some for the decoration). Add the remaining kataifi on top and add the remaining butter.
- Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes or until golden.
- Take out from the oven and drizzle with the syrup. Set aside to cool.
Prepare Pastry Cream:
- Heat the milk reserving 1/4 cup cold milk.
- In another pot add the corn flour, eggs, sugar, vanilla, zest and the cold milk and stir well with an egg beater, until the mixture is combined.
- Pour the hot milk to mixture stirring constantly, on the heat, until cream sets.
- Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Cover with cling film or mix it every now and then so that no crust is formed on top.
Prepare the Whipped Cream:
- Beat the cream on low speed, add the sugar and vanilla, mix and increase the speed as the cream starts to set. Refrigerate until the pastry cream cools.
- When the pastry cream has cooled, mix a couple spoonfuls of whipped cream and spread it over the kataifi.
- Decorate with the remaining whipped cream.
- Decorate with citrus fruit preserve or any leftover almonds.
- Refrigerate for at least 3 – 4 hours before serving.
Update 21 November 2014:
Yesterday I made Tyropita with Kataifi, which is the one my children prefer the most. I had some leftover kataifi, which was enough to make a small Pyrex of this Ekmek dessert.
This time instead of using orange preserve, I used quince. On top of the baked kataifi I added some quince syrup as well as a layer of quince preserve. Then I added the pudding and when serving we added some additional quince preserve on top.
You can find my Greek recipes in my cookbooks «More Than A Greek Salad», and«Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!» both available on all Amazon stores. Read more here.
Other related Recipes:
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,