Kataifi is one of those dishes we grew up eating as mums and grandmothers made for us.This dessert, called Konafa in Arabic, is made of thin, vermicelli like, pastry which is rolled and stuffed. Typically the stuffing is a mixture of nuts, sugar and cinamon. What makes Kataifi so tasty? As with most middle-eastern and arabic desserts, you have plenty of ghee or butter, and drench it all in a rich sugary syrup: Result.
The key ingredients that really make this dish are the cinnamon, cardamon and the lemon. These are the ingredients that will shine through and make this a fragrant dessert worth remembering. Try it with Pistachios too! This recipe is very simple to make and you can make this ahead of time – Flavours generally develop as you let it rest. You can vary the mixtures of nuts and filling to your own taste and style.
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For the syrup:
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 2-3 cardamon pods
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- A squeeze of lemon juice
For the filling:
- Kataifi pastry
- Hazel nuts
- Melted butter
- 4 tbsp caster sugar
- 2-3 tsp cinnamon
- 1-2 tsp vanilla sugar or extract
- Start by making the syrup as this will need to cool and then poured onto the hot kataifi as it comes out the oven.
- Put all the ingredients for the syrup in a pot and allow the sugar to dissolve under a low heat.
- Then heat the oven to 180 degree and grease a baking tin.
- To make the filling, take a handful of each of the different nuts and combine with the sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Add 2 tbsp melted butter and blend in a mixer or pestle and mortar. Tip…taste the filling, and if you like it, you’re good to go!
- Take small sections of the kataifi pastry and place on a flat surface, add 1-2 tbsp of the filling mixture and roll the pastry tucking the edges in as you go.
- Place the rolled kataifi in the baking tray, pack the pastries tightly next to each other as this will help to prevent them from falling apart.
- Once the tray is full, pour the melted butter over the pastries to cover the surface and bake in the oven until golden brown.
- When the pastries are ready remove from the oven and immediately pour the cooled syrup onto the hot pastries.
- Allow the kataifi to cool before serving….. delicious with a cup of tea or coffee.