Desserts & Sweets

Kadayif Two Ways – Cream Kadayif and Kadayif with Cheese

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.

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Cream Kadayif

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.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 24

Equipment

  • 9"x13" baking pan

Ingredients

Simple Syrup Ingredients:

  • 3 cups sugar
  • cups water
  • tsp. lemon juice

Dough:

  • ½ lb. unsalted butter 2 sticks
  • 1 lb. pkg. kadayif dough (shredded phyllo dough) defrosted and at room temperature

Cream Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • cup sugar

Instructions

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.

Dough:

  • 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.)
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Cheese-filled Kadayif

An easy, cheesy, sweet dessert.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. pkg. kadayif dough (shredded phyllo dough) defrosted and at room temperature
  • cubes or sticks unsalted butter melted
  • 1½ to 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese shredded

Simple Syrup Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 lemon peel
  • 1 lemon juiced

Instructions

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.

Notes

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: nazik@holytrinityfresno.org.
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