Kadayif (kadaif, knafe) is finely shredded phyllo dough used in many popular Middle Eastern desserts. In this case, it is also the name of the dessert. Kadayif dough is commonly available in one-pound packages in either the refrigerator or freezer section in Middle Eastern shops and international markets.
Christine Datian shares two kadayif recipes – cream-filled-and- cheese-filled – from The Armenian Mirror Spectator . Both are perfect for special occasions, holidays – or anytime!
This classic recipe for Cream Kadayif is courtesy of the late Madelyn Markarian and is reprinted from ‘A Harvest of Recipes Cookbook’ published by the Pilgrim Armenian Congregational Church in Fresno, California.
Kadayif refers to shredded phyllo dough which is used for a number of exquisitely delicious desserts. This particular one is filled with a rich cream and sweetened with simple syrup.
Prep Time 45minutes
Cook Time 45minutes
Total Time 1hour30minutes
9"x13" baking pan
Simple Syrup Ingredients:
½lb.unsalted butter2 sticks
1lb. pkg.kadayif dough (shredded phyllo dough)defrosted and at room temperature
Cream Filling Ingredients:
Simple Syrup Preparation:
Mix sugar and water together in a saucepan. Bring to a boil; simmer for 10 minutes, stirring to dissolve sugar. Take off heat, add lemon juice and stir. Allow syrup to cool completely.
Cream Filling Preparation:
In a large bowl, add cold milk and cornstarch, stir constantly to completely dissolve the cornstarch. Transfer the milk mixture to a large saucepan. Add the half and half, whipping cream, sugar and vanilla. Bring to a boil on medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens. Set aside.
It is important to defrost kadayif dough overnight in the refrigerator and not at room temperature in order to prevent it from getting soggy. If kadayif dough gets soggy, it will be difficult to work with and less crispy when baked.
Assembling and Baking:
Preheat oven to 350°. Melt butter. Shred/cut dough into small 1-1/2 to 2” pieces. Stir in melted butter and mix well. Spread 1/2 of dough in bottom of 9″ x 13″ pan. Pour 3 1/2 to 4 cups of cream mixture over dough. (Note: Save any remaining filling to serve as pudding.) Top with remaining dough.
Bake for 20 minutes on the lowest oven rack. If not golden, move pan to top rack and bake 5 to 10 minutes longer. Lower heat to 300° degrees and bake until golden brown. Pour cooled syrup over hot kadayif. Allow to cool, then refrigerate. When ready to serve, cut into squares and garnish with ground pistachios or walnuts, if desired. (Note: You can bake this dish a day ahead, then reheat immediately before serving and pour the syrup on.)
1lb. pkg.kadayif dough (shredded phyllo dough) defrosted and at room temperature
1½cubes or sticksunsalted buttermelted
1½ to 2cupsMonterey Jack cheese shredded
Simple Syrup Ingredients:
Cheese Kadayif Directions:
Melt butter and mix with kadayif dough. Put 1 layer of dough in a 3-quart baking dish. Layer with the cheese. Cover with remaining dough. Bake about 40 minutes at 350°. Pour cooled syrup over hot kadayif and serve.
Simple Syrup Directions:
Bring sugar, water and lemon peel to a boil. Keep stirring till the sugar has dissolved and water is clear. Add the lemon juice and leave to simmer for 7-10 minutes. Leave to cool slightly. Remove lemon peel.
The cheese kadayif recipe is one of the many treasured recipes published in the Armenian and Selected Favorite Recipes Cookbook by the Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church Trinity Guild (now Ladies’ Guild) in 1970. The cost for each cookbook is $20.00, including $5.00 for shipping. Make check payable to: Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church. To order, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.