Kataifi (καταϊφι)









The sister dessert to Baklava has to be Kataifi. The more common and popular dessert is baklava but don’t let that keep you from trying out this dessert that’s easy to assemble, fabulous to look at and ever a delight to eat.

Much like Baklava, Kataifi exists in the dessert repertoire of Greek, Turkish, Middle Eastern and some Arabic nations. Kataifi is a pastry that resembles “shredded wheat” but that’s where the similarity begins and ends.

Kataifi behaves like phyllo dough in that one has to work quick, be fresh and be kept moist when handling it (like phyllo). Where does one buy Kataifi? That’s easy, you’ll likely see packages of Kataifi pastry for sale in stores that sell phyllo pastry and quite often, they are beside each other in the freezer!

The most common filling for the Greek Kataifi is chopped walnuts but I don’t think the Greek Food Taliban will fault you for making up your own nut mix. One can try pistachios, almonds, pecans or go ultra-rich with pine nuts!

During the Christmas holidays, I was in a mood for a combo of pistachios, almonds and walnuts, do I hear a “Hell Yeah”?

Having some leftover filling from my chocolate baklava, I went & got some Kataifi pastry from my Greek grocer and set out to make some Kataifi!

Sandie, this one’s for you!

Kataïfi (καταϊφι)

1 package (1lb) of Kataifi pastry, thawed
1/2 lb. of melted butter

Filling
2/3 cup of walnuts, fine chop

2/3 cup of pistachios, fine chop

2/3 cup of blanched almonds, fine chop

1/2 cup of sugar

1 tsp. of ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. of ground cloves

1 egg white, lightly beaten

Syrup
3/4 cup of honey

2 cups of sugar

2 1/2 cups of water

1 cinnamon stick

rind of 1 lemon

juice of 1 lemon

some reserved nuts for topping

Pre-heated 350F oven

  1. Buy your Kataifi pastry from a store that sells alot of phyllo and kataifi pastry (high turnover). This ensures you’re buying a fresh product each time. Thaw in the fridge overnight and take out of the fridge about 15 minutes before working with it to come to room temperature.
  2. In a food processor, pulse your nut mixture until you’ve achieved a crumbly nut mixture. Empty into a bowl and mix in the remaining ingredients in the filling list.
  3. After you’ve brought your Kataifi to room temperature, open the pastry. The Kataifi I work with comes rolled up in a package. Carefully unroll it and using some scissors, cut up into 2″X5″ strips. Keep your supply of Kataifi pieces covered with a damp towel as you assemble the Kataifi rolls.
  4. Drizzle the surface of your Kataifi piece and place 1 Tbsp. of the nut mixture at one end of the Kataifi strip and roll it up tightly into a small cylinder. Place the the assembled rolls of Kataifi on a buttered 11″X 15″ pan and sprinkle them with melted butter.
  5. Bake in a preheated 350F oven (middle rack) for 1 hour. Allow to cool.
  6. Prepare the syrup as follows: add all the syrup ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil, then simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes. Keep the syrup hot until your Kataifi has cooled from the oven (Katiafi must be cool – syrup hot).
  7. Using a ladle, pour the hot syrup over the entire surface of your Kataifi. You may see pooling of syrup but no worries, the Kataifi will absorb the syrup up. Sprinkle the reserved nuts over the Kataifi pieces.
  8. Allow to cool before serving. Keep stored in an airtight container (room temperature) for a week.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://kalofagas.blogspot.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.
© 2007-2009 Peter Minakis

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Peter Minakis

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80 Comments for “Kataifi (καταϊφι)”

Buon viaggio.

says:

That was the first dessert I had when I went to Greece for the first time.
It looks fantastic. (Probably messy and complicated)

LaDue & Crew

says:

I’ve only had this once at the Greek Festival here in Phoenix. It was pretty delicious, but my oh my, this looks fabulous! Yours looks larger and the mixture of ingredients a better choice!

Happy cook

says:

e this dessert, when ever we go to France there is this supermarket which sells these delciious Kataifi’s. And i biy few of them and i have to admit it is me who finishe them off shamelessley.
These ones looks so yummy delcisious that i am craving for it.
I don’t think i will ever make them at home as it loooks so complicated.

Rosa's Yummy Yums

says:

OMG, that’s a delicious dessert! I love Kataifi, but it’s sad that this special pastry is hard to find in Geneva…

Cheers,

Rosa

Rosa's Yummy Yums

says:

OMG, that’s a delicious dessert! I love Kataifi, but it’s sad that this special pastry is hard to find in Geneva…

Cheers,

Rosa

Rosa's Yummy Yums

says:

OMG, that’s a delicious dessert! I love Kataifi, but it’s sad that this special pastry is hard to find in Geneva…

Cheers,

Rosa

Rosa's Yummy Yums

says:

OMG, that’s a delicious dessert! I love Kataifi, but it’s sad that this special pastry is hard to find in Geneva…

Cheers,

Rosa

Rosa's Yummy Yums

says:

OMG, that’s a delicious dessert! I love Kataifi, but it’s sad that this special pastry is hard to find in Geneva…

Cheers,

Rosa

Rosa's Yummy Yums

says:

OMG, that’s a delicious dessert! I love Kataifi, but it’s sad that this special pastry is hard to find in Geneva…

Cheers,

Rosa

Núria

says:

I want some kataifi for my birthday!!!!! I will look for it as you say beside the puf pastry and see if I find it here… Just saw Tony’s video on Baklava and… I’m in the mood for nuts♥

ophile

says:

I love kataifi, I made a short documentary of my mom and for b-roll I had her make kataifi. So neat! She has always made it in a sheet pan, but of course I have seen it rolled up like this too! Nice!

Sandie

says:

“Hell Yeah!”

Peter, I’m THRILLED you moved this dessert up in the Kalofagas schedule—now I can make my favorite, mystery, vacation dessert at home! Thanks so much for id-ing the photo, Kataifi is absolutely fabulous—I like to think of it as Baklava’s wild cousin (or as you mentioned, sister).

You rock, and I owe you one!

Heather

says:

You said this isn’t really similar to Shredded Wheat, but that hasn’t stopped me from wanting to eat a bowl of these for breakfast. :\

Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer

says:

Sounds and looks incredible – I have never seen anything like this before!! Would love to take a big ol bite of this baby!!

Mediterranean kiwi

says:

it’s been a while since i had this dessert, i prefer it to baklava, as the syrup tensd to become better absorbed

Heather

says:

i’ve never heard of this before! i looove baklava, so i’m sure i would adore this. i will have to give it a try!

Marjie

says:

The first picture looked like a bird’s nest with my first quick glance. It looks like it would be a great thing to try! I guess the Kataifi pastry comes shredded, from your pictures; that would make an interesting texture.

melissa

says:

I’ve never seen these, nor any dessert quite like them. Fascinating. And yes, I’m thinking I would say hell yeah to all those nuts!

ΕΛΕΝΑ

says:

You made your own kantaifi??? Super!!!!
You can also make kantaifi with some kinds ofcheese, also nice, like a cheese pie.

Catherine Wilkinson

says:

I’m voting for the pine nuts. I have never seen this wonderment! I want to try, if I can locate kataifi…it’s difficult here. Online?

Colloquial Cook

says:

Kataïfi is always my first choice if loukoumades isn’t available. That’s how much I like it. I adore it in Osmalilleh, but that’s Lebanese.

Katherine Aucoin

says:

Peter I love the texture of this and the filling with the cloves and cinnamon along with the syrup containing the lemon flavors must have ones taste buds really dancing!

Maria

says:

I’ve eaten kataifi a million times of course but never made it myself … just thgouht I’d clarify, cause what kind of Greek would Ibe if I hadn’t ever devoured kataifi?!

Foodycat

says:

Hell yes! But I have never seen kataifi pastry for sale – I can get filo at the supermarket but not kataifi.

Now I want baklava for lunch!

Lucy

says:

Oooh my this looks and must taste amazing!!! I've been on a search in my local area & have not found this kataifi pastry yet… I love Baklava, I must find a source for those crispy strands!!

The Short (dis)Order Cook

says:

Looks delicious. I’ve had these before and they are wonderful. I’m glad I ate them before reading your blgo because I think I might have passed after reading your Shredded Wheat reference. ;-)

Anne

says:

Well, of COURSE yours are perfect! I’m too much of a wimp to try. I can so see a big lump of goo in a pan as a result.

lexismezes

says:

Hi Peter – I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now and absolutely love everything you share (esp. being of Greek descent myself)! The explanation and photos of kataifi are wonderful…mmmm

Ivy

says:

I love kataifi but I make it “nistisimo” with almonds and no butter and no egg and usually make it on Kathara Deftera.

Bellini Valli

says:

I have been fortunate enough to try this and even see the shredded dough at our grocers. Perhaps you have inspired me to give it a try.

giz

says:

I have this vision of my new year’s resolution flying out the door. I love this configuration. I use katafi (did I spell it right) to wrap apple pieces and then fry them and dust with icing sugar and it’s so to die for. I can’t imagine this could even remotely be anything but incredible.

Paula

says:

Hmmm … I don’t know where my comment went. Oh well, I’ll try again. These look terrific! I’ve actually had these, and love them. It’s been a while, though, so I think I need some again! YUM!

Navita

says:

First time here n love ur treasure trove of recipes. :)

u hve a neat blog…with great recipes.

i am adding you to my roll..hope its ok.

chou

says:

Amazing. I have looked at these in pastry stores and thought “impossible” and now I see they’re in the realm of reality.

ellysaysopa.com

says:

I actually prefer kataifi to baklava. Yours looks perfect. I just love it and I could really go for a piece right now if I hadn’t polished off half a karidopita this week. lol.

foodhuntress79

says:

Hello Mr. Peter. Wow, you’re a real gourmet and you’re into the financial business. I don’t have much orientation to Greek food this side of the planet but your blog is already a bridgeway to it. I’ll turn to you for further education. :)

Marc @ NoRecipes

says:

I always wondered what form kataifi pastry came in. I’ve only seen the fininshed product. I’ll have to look for it:-)

alexandra's kitchen

says:

oh my gosh what fun! I don’t have a place near me that sells kataifi, but i’m in LA at least once a week … they have to sell it some place there, right? this looks wonderful!

alexandra's kitchen

says:

oh my gosh what fun! I don’t have a place near me that sells kataifi, but i’m in LA at least once a week … they have to sell it some place there, right? this looks wonderful!

alexandra's kitchen

says:

oh my gosh what fun! I don’t have a place near me that sells kataifi, but i’m in LA at least once a week … they have to sell it some place there, right? this looks wonderful!

alexandra's kitchen

says:

oh my gosh what fun! I don’t have a place near me that sells kataifi, but i’m in LA at least once a week … they have to sell it some place there, right? this looks wonderful!

alexandra's kitchen

says:

oh my gosh what fun! I don’t have a place near me that sells kataifi, but i’m in LA at least once a week … they have to sell it some place there, right? this looks wonderful!

Proud Italian Cook

says:

I’ve seen this in many stores here, I wouldn’t have a clue what to do with it,you make this sound so easy, but it looks complcated to me. That being said this is the kind of stuff that would be very dangerous for me to have around. Crunchy and nutty my absolute favorite!

Mary

says:

Ok, I will stalk my local rural grocery store and see if I can find some Kataifi. Otherwise I will have to look for it next time I go to my mom’s!

Jeanne

says:

Oh my word, those look good! And still laughing at the Greek Food Taliban… That particular party seems to have quite a few very vocl chapters ;-)

says:

Finally, I have found Kataifi pastry & cannot wait to try this wonderful dessert!!

BTW.. when I next make those wonderful pork chops & there will be a next time… I must take a photo!

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