A few years ago on Crete a Greek friend offered us this wonderful cake and she gently shared her recipe. I still had the notes and finally now I decided to write this in my blog. Her recipe is a sugar-reduced one, as most of the recipes requires double quantity of syrup, I also noticed that she reduced the fat of the cream adding beaten egg white. If you don’t feel safe eating raw eggs please skip it or double the cream quantity!
Perhaps you noticed that the name “Ekmek Kataifi” doesn’t sound Greek: historical this recipe was a bread pudding, created during the Ottoman empire and served during the Ramadan time combined with kaimak (a creamy cheese similar to mascarpone).
Note: sometimes you in Turkish shops you can buy already roasted kataifi in the shape of a round cake; in this cake skip the first two steps.
Ekmek Kataifi – Greek Pastry Topped with Custard and Whipped Cream
- 250 g frozen kataifi pastry
- 50 g butter, melted
Syrup (may be doubled if you wish)
- 100 g sugar
- 50 ml water
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon mastic, powder (optional)
For the Custard
- 3 tablespoons fine semolina
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 70 g sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 egg yolks
- 500 ml milk
- 100 ml heavy cream, chilled
- 1 egg white, from very fresh egg (skip and double the quantity of heavy cream if preferred)
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- roasted slivered almonds or pistachios, for serving
- 8 candied cherries (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 160 °C.
- To begin making the base. Make the Kataifi pastry as fluffy as possible; spread it on the Springform (of about 24 cm) and brush with the melted butter. Toast the Kataifi strands until golden brown, this takes about 30-40 minutes.
- In the meanwhile, prepare the syrup by boiling the sugar with the water in a small saucepan for about 5 minutes. You can also add some mastic powder. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and spoon the hot syrup over the toasted pastry base.
- Combine semolina, cornstarch and half of the sugar in small bowl; whisk in egg yolks and a few tablespoons of cold milk; whisk to remove any lumps. In another pot (or simply in the microwave) heat the milk with the rest of the sugar. Before this comes to boil, remove this from the heat and add it to the egg mixture stirring constantly; Place the saucepan over medium heat and let the cream thicken, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and let cool down until lukewarm.
- Spread the custard evenly over Kataifi. Let it cool to room temperature, cover with cling film and put in the fridge. Leave best overnight as so that the tastes will bind better.
- Make the whipped cream just before serving: in a clean bowl beat egg white into stiff peaks, add sugar and beat again until glossy. In another bowl, preferably chilled, beat chilled cream. Gently fold beaten egg whites into the whipped cream and spread over the cold cream.
- Sprinkle with roasted slivered almonds, top with cherry and serve best with a cup of real Greek coffee!