But those salads will have to wait. I want to tell you about my Kadaif. The easiest way to describe this dessert is that it is what I would call a Middle Eastern cheesecake. There are several ways to prepare it all of which were new to me. I adapted two recipes and I have to say it was fun trying something that I had no idea if it would turn out. My efforts were a success and my friends that took the cake home must have agreed. If you are having a Middle Eastern meal this is an easy, but exotic dessert that has a honey syrup similar to baklava but tastes richer because of the cheese. Many middle Eastern groceries sell kadaif in the freezer section but if you can’t find it shredded wheat cereal would make a good substitute.
Kadaif can also be made with a nut filling or as individual pastries. It can be made with the shredded pastry as the bottom crust also, but one recipe I found used cous cous as the bottom and top crust. I decided to use the cous cous as the bottom layer and the kadaif noodles on the top. It was a good decision on my part and that is the recipe I’ll give you today. Imagine if you will, a silky, little salty cheese filling with a crunchy topping coated with a lemon honey cinnamon syrup. Not bad, huh? Yeah, that’s what my friends thought, too.
|Cheese and Honey|
2c Boling Water
1/2C Butter melted
1 lightly beaten Egg
pinch of Salt
1 ¾ c Ricotta Cheese
6oz Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
½ package of kadaif (about 80z)
½ c butter melted
1 1/2c Honey
Pinch of Saffron (Optional)
Pinch of Cinnamon (optional)
1Tablespoon Lemon Juice
Chopped pistachios for garnish
10” Springform Pan
Put couscous in a bowl and pour boilng water over. Stir. Leave to soak for up to 30 minutes until water is absorbed. When absorbed stir well with fork to break up lumps. Pout melted butter over and then stir in egg and salt. Put this in bottom of pan. (This is your crust. It is a soft one.)
Preheat oven to 375.
Now Combine Cheeses and 2T of honey. Spread on top of Couscous.
Take kadaif and mix well with ½c melted butter. Tear it into threads and make sure each one is coated well with butter. Press this on top of cheese. Bake about 45 minutes.
Now take your honey and saffron or cinnamon, if using, and the water and put in pan. Bring to a boil and boil for about 5-7 minutes. You are making a light syrup. After you take off heat stir in lemon juice. Chill this in fridge or freezer but do not let it solidify. It needs to be cold when you pour it over your warm kadaif. This keeps your kadiaf crunchy.
After baking your kadaif for 45 minutes turn the oven up to 450. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the top of your kadaif is golden. Now immediately pour Cold syrup over kadaif. You can serve it warm if you like or you can let it come to room temperature. Sprinkle with pistachios. They look and taste good. This will stay good and crunchy for about 4 days if it lasts that long. Mint Tea is the traditional accompaniment.
|Couscous Crust with Cheese Filling|
Kadaif (A Middle Eastern Cheesecake)