Those who have visited Istanbul (Constantinople) will have feasted on the array of eclectic sweet and savory dishes. Back in 2007 during my trip to Greece, I snuck in a side-trip to Istanbul, Turkey for a long weekend.
One of the desserts I enjoyed was Kazan Dibi or in Greek..”Καζάν-ντιμπί”. For those that like Creme Brulee, this dessert is for you. The dessert’s name “Kazan Dibi” comes from the burnt bottom of the pan (kettle).
From my readings, the most authentic of Kazan Dibi’s are made with the milk of a bubal (buffalo). This dessert is very easy to make and it requires few ingredients: butter, milk, rice flour, corn starch, sugar and flavouring.
I’ve had thisÂ dessert in Constantinople (Istanbul) and in Thessaloniki. In Constantinople (Istanbul), thin ribbons of the burnt pudding are rolled and then served. In Thessaloniki, I received the Kazan Dibi as a nice, thick serving as you see here.
Kazan Dibi is a quick, exotic dessert with the only catch being to make the night before and allow for the pudding to set overnight.
A spatula is the only tool needed to serve this easy treat. Cut a square serving, slide the spatula underneath the Kazan Dibi and quickly (but carefully) invert and place on the serving plate. The burnt/caramelized side of the pudding should be on top for presentation.
You can add a couple of drops of rosewater, sprinkle some ground pistachios or just dust with some cinnamon..it’s your call. For this recipe, I used a large 9-inch skillet. A heavy bottomed skillet will also work fine.
Kazan Dibi (Καζάν-ντιμπί)
a 9-inch cast iron skillet
about 2 Tbsp. of room temp. unsalted butter
6 cups of milk + 1 cup to dilute the corn starch/rice flour mixture
3/4 cup corn starch
1/4 cup rice flour
1 cup of sugar + 2 heaping Tbsp. to make the caramel
3-4 Tbsp. of rosewater (or your preferred flavouring)
- Take 1 cup of milk and add it to a bowl along with your corn starch and rice flour. Mix until dissolved and set aside.
- In a medium-sized pot, add the remaining 6 cups of milk and bring to a boil over medium heat. As soon as your milk comes to a boil, add the sugar, rosewater and reduce the heat to medium. Stir until dissolved.
- Add the corn starch/rice flour and milk mixture into your hot milk and stir for a couple of minutes until the mixture comes to the consistency of a thick cream.Â Place the lid on the pot, take off the heat and reserve.
- Grease the bottom of your skillet with butter and sprinkle with 2 heaping Tbsps. of sugar. Place your skillet over medium-high heat and watch over it as your sugar caramelizes. As soon as it has just gone black, add two ladles of your thick cream mixture to sufficiently cover the surface of your skillet. Allow the the cream to bubble and cook for about a minute and to form the “bottom crust”. Take off the heat and allow to cool for 3-4 minutes.
- With your ladle, gently add the remaining cream over your burnt milk in the skillet. This step is important as you do not want to disturb the bottom crust and taint your cream mixture. Continue to add the cream mixture (ladle by ladle) and allow to cool for a few minutes. Place in the fridge overnight.
- The next day when serving, cut a piece of the Kazan Dibi with your spatula and then slide underneath the piece and quickly (but carefully) flip the piece so that the burnt side is facing up.
- Serve “as is” or sprinkle some ground pistachios and cinnamon and serve cool.
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Â© 2007-2009 Peter Minakis
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