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 supermakrkets.
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. To clarify butter melt butter in a bain mari (double boiler). The solids will sink to the bottom and the melted butter on top is the clarified butter which will be used.
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 and last year I had made orange spoon sweet. This year I made it 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.
Prepare the syrup by adding all the ingredients, except the liqueur, in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. It will soon bubble and form froth. Reduce heat and keep mixing for 5 minutes and the froth will dissolve. Discard orange rind, cinnamon and cloves and mix in the liqueur and set aside until it cools completely.
Put half of the kataifi dough in the bottom of a spring form pan and add a few tablespoons clarified butter here and there. Mix the almonds with sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle on top of kataifi. Add the remaining half on top and add the remaining butter.
Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes till golden in colour.
Take out from the oven and drizzle with the cold syrup. Set aside to cool before adding the cream.
Meantime prepare the whipped cream which refrigerate until the pudding cools.
To make pudding, heat the milk reserving 1/4 cup cold milk.
In another pot add the flour, corn flour, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, orange zest and the cold milk and stir well with an egg beater, until the mixture is creaming.
Pour the hot milk to mixture stirring constantly, on the heat, until cream sets.
Remove from the heat, add the butter and stir. Finally mix in the orange liqueur. Cover with cling film and set aside to cool.
When the cream is cold, mix in ¾ of the whipped cream and add it over the kataifi.
Decorate with the remaining whipped cream and with slices of orange preserve.
Refrigerate for at least 3 -4 hours before serving.
The only things I have from my mother are her hand made crochets and although old fashioned, I love using them in my photos.
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.