We’re marking this milestone occasion with one of our favorite dessert recipes, Greek Ekmek Kataifi (custard and whipped-cream over a syruped kataifi-phyllo crust)—it’s our way of saying thank you for your support, follows, likes, comments, and views. This pastry is perfect for any special occasion, so step into our kouzina and lets bake up a commemorative sweet!
Kataifi is shredded phyllo dough that’s featured in a number of Greek pastries and savory dishes. It’s similar to the texture of shredded coconut and comes in long strands. This phyllo is incredibly easy to work with and makes the perfect crust for this lusciously creamy custard dessert. There are three layers to this pastry and all can be made ahead and stored separately until you’re ready to assemble.
*Leave the kataifi dough out at room temperature for 1 hour before opening the package and unrolling (if frozen, first thaw overnight in the refrigerator). This will soften the dough, making it pliable and easy to work with.
*For the whipped cream, it’s important that the mixing bowl, beaters, and cream are well chilled before whipping to ensure a proper result.
PREP TIME 40 minutes plus standing and chilling
COOKING/BAKING TIME 50 minutes
SERVES 8 to 10
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted, plus 1 tablespoon more for pan
9 ounces kataifi dough, at room temperature (if frozen, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then bring to room temperature)
4 ounces unsalted pistachios (about 2/3 cup), chopped, lightly toasted
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
Peel from half a lemon
1 small cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon Greek brandy (optional)
5 large egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
4 cups whole milk, divided
10 tablespoons cornstarch
Peel from half an orange
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
Small pinch vanilia (crystalized vanilla) or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups heavy cream, cold
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
GARNISH (your choice)
1 cup shredded coconut, lightly toasted
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped unsalted pistachios, lightly toasted
1. Make crust: Heat oven to 325°F and arrange rack in center. Lightly butter the bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Remove the kataifi dough from the packaging, unroll, and separate the strands, breaking up any clumps while fluffing it up. Spread half of the dough in the bottom of the prepared pan, sprinkle with half of the nuts, and evenly drizzle with half of the butter. Repeat with the remaining dough, nuts, and butter. Bake about 30 minutes, until golden throughout.
2. Meanwhile, make syrup: In a medium saucepan, combine the water, sugar, lemon peel, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, without stirring, for 8 minutes. Stir in the brandy (if using) and simmer 1 minute more. Remove from heat.
3. As soon as the crust is removed from the oven, evenly pour the lukewarm syrup over the hot crust and let cool completely. (Can be made ahead. Cool completely, then cover pan with plastic wrap and store at room temperature overnight.)
4. Make custard: In a large heatproof bowl, lightly whisk together the egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar until combined and lightened. In a cup, stir together 1/2 cup milk and the cornstarch until the cornstarch has dissolved. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the yolk mixture until the sugar has dissolved. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the remaining 3 1/2 cups milk, 1/2 cup sugar, and the orange peel. Heat just to a boil and remove from heat. Gradually whisk a couple of ladles of hot milk mixture into the cornstarch mixture, whisking constantly, until combined (to temper the eggs). Whisk this back into the remaining hot mixture in the pan until combined well. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and thickened to the consistency of a custard, about 5 minutes (breaking up any lumps with the back of the spoon). Remove from heat, discard the peel, and stir in the butter and vanilia/vanilla until combined well.
5. Pour the hot custard over the crust and, using an offset spatula, evenly spread to the edges of the pan. Cover the custard directly with plastic wrap so that it’s touching the entire surface of the custard. This will keep the custard from forming a skin. Let cool completely, then refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight to set.
6. Make whipped cream: In a chilled mixing bowl with chilled beaters, beat together the cold heavy cream, the confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla on high speed to stiff peaks (do not overbeat), 2 to 3 minutes. (Can be made ahead. Cover and refrigerate overnight.)
7. To assemble: Remove the plastic wrap from the surface of the custard. Using an offset spatula, evenly spread the whipped cream over the custard to the edges (for a an elegant presentation, place whipped cream in a piping bag fitted with a large [closed or open] star tip and pipe star shapes over the surface of the custard, covering completely). Top with your favorite garnish (we used toasted coconut and a dusting of confectioners’ sugar); if you’re using fresh fruit, garnish up to an hour before serving, as the juices can water down the whipped cream. (Can be made ahead. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight.) Serve chilled for easier cutting.
Recipe © copyright Kukla's Kouzina: A Gourmet Journey~Greek Island Style, kuklaskouzina.com
I hope you enjoy our Ekmek Kataifi recipe and that you make it to celebrate the special occasions in your life! For more about our journey to 10 years of deliciousness, check out our blogs: Growing Up In Kukla’s Kouzina and Kukla’s Kouzina~Coming Full Circle.
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Kali orexi! Good appetite!
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