Kataif is a traditional Middle-Eastern dessert, in the same family as baklava. The dough
is a shredded wheat material, though, and is much easier to use than the filo dough for
baklava. The whole house is filled with the marvelous aroma of orange blossom water when you
pour the syrup over the kataif. I find several types of dough that are particularly fun to work with. Kataif dough is
one, pita is another, and Chinese glass noodle nests are another. In each of these foods,
there is a certain magic in the way the raw material behaves during the cooking process. Don't hesitate
using your hands to work the shortening into the kataif dough--it's part of the whole
Stir sugar, water, lemon juice over moderate heat. Simmer until it thickens and coats a spoon. This can be done in
the microwave. Be sure to watch it carefully. Stir in the orange blossom water and cook an additional 2 minutes.
Cool and chill while preparing the other items.
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 T. lemon juice
- 1-2 T. orange blossom water
Mix the chopped nuts with the sugar.
- 2 1/4 cups pistachios, finely chopped
- 3 T. sugar
- 1 pound kataif pastry (this usually comes frozen)
- 1/2 pound butter or solid vegetable shortening, melted
- 1 recipe syrup
- 1 recipe filling
Oven Temp: 350°F., 45 minutes, then 450°F., 10 minutes.
Yield: a 13"x9" pan
Put the defrosted kataif pastry in a large bowl. Pull out and separate the strands. Pour melted butter or shortening over
the pastry, and work in so that all strands are covered. Put half the pastry in a 13"x9" pan. Spread
the filling over, and cover with the remaining pastry. Flatten with your hand. Bake at 350°F. for 45 minutes. Raise
the heat to 450°F., and continue to bake until light golden. Remove from the oven and immediately pour the cold
syrup over the hot kataif. Serve hot or cold. This gets better after sitting at room temperature for about 3 or 4