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Cheese-filled Bird's Nests

This sweet, savory, chewy and crispy dessert is a favorite at Armenian church festivals.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Dessert
Servings 16 nests


  • ½ lb shredded phyllo dough (also known as kadaif)
  • 9 tbsp unsalted clarified butter
  • 1 cup fresh mozzarella cheese (grated)
  • 15 oz part skim ricotta cheese
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
  • ½ cup ground pistachios (optional)

Simple Syrup

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice


  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Place the dough on a stabilized cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut kadaif dough into 2-inch pieces. Place in a large mixing bowl. With your hands, separate the dough strands, removing any clumps.
  • Drizzle the melted butter into the kadaif dough and, with your hands, gently massage the butter to coat the dough.
  • Using two 12-cup muffin tins, place some kadaif mixture on the bottom and up the sides of each cup, making sure the bottom has enough dough to support the filling.
  • Mix together the cheeses and cinnamon, if using. Place 1 or 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture in each cup. Sprinkle chopped pistachios on top of the cheese filling, if desired. 
  • Top each cup with additional shredded dough. (Note: If you prefer, you may omit the additional shredded dough on top.)
  • Bake for about 17 to 20 minutes, or until the dough is lightly golden.
  • While the kadaif is baking, prepare the simple syrup.

Simple Syrup Instructions

  • Make a simple syrup by bringing the sugar and water to a boil. Add lemon juice. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and liquid reduces by a third, about 10 to 12 minutes. The syrup should coat the back of a spoon.

Serving Instructions

  • As soon as the kadaif comes out of the oven, spoon some of the syrup over each while still in the muffin tin. Allow them to sit a few minutes to allow the syrup to soak through. Use a spoon to loosen and remove each kadaif cup from the muffin tin.
  • Place nests on individual serving dishes.Serve the remaining syrup to those with a sweet tooth. Best when served warm or hot.



Only pour syrup on those nests which will be served immediately. Any leftover cheese nests can be covered and refrigerated for a few days. When ready to serve, heat them in a preheated (350°F) oven or toaster oven  for about 10 minutes. 
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