Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Kadaif or Middle Eastern Cheesecake

St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone. I did not see a rainbow or find a pot of gold. However, I did make a delightful new dessert that glistened with honey which may be as close as I ever get to a pot of gold. A friend came over on Sunday to see the photos of my trip and I decided to make a Middle Eastern Spread. Just the mezze (appetizer) part-after all, us girls have to watch our figures. This is a great, healthy way to eat and a super simple way to entertain. And of course eating salads helps to justify dessert.

Our Mezze
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.

Serves 12
Active Time: Abut 30 minutes
1 C CousCous
2 C Boiling Water
1/2 C Butter melted
1 lightly beaten Egg
pinch of Salt
1 ¾ c Ricotta Cheese
6 oz Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
½ package of kadaif (about 80z)
½ C butter melted
1 1/2 C Honey
Pinch of Saffron (Optional)
Pinch of Cinnamon (optional)
1/2 C Water
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
Chopped pistachios for garnish

10” Springform Pan
Put couscous in a bowl and pour boiling 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 2 T of honey. Spread on top of Couscous.

Take kadaif and mix well with ½ c 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.

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1 comment:

  1. Nice recipe, and an interesting way to use cous cous. I'm with you - this way of making cheese cake is new to me, too. Look great, though. Now, on to the mezze! I'm looking forward to that. I'm weird - in most restaurants I find the first courses much more interesting than the main course, so I really am keen to see your recipes.