Originally Posted by Andy M.
That's really a different dessert from what I posted. There are a lot more nuts in your dessert than there are in mine. I'll bet it's delicious!
Is this the one that's made with khadaifi dough and sauteed in ghee?
Hi Andy -- sorry so long in replying. Busy week.
Yep, the photo I put in is the one with kataifi sauteed in ghee. It does have a lot of pistachios and it IS delicious, without a doubt!
Meanwhile, guess who tried making these babies this last weekend
? Yup, me, just winging it since I can't yet find definitive guidelines.
And guess whose efforts looked a lot more like a big fat pistachio burrito
than a petite Lebanese delicacy? Three guesses!
So here, for anybody who's interested, is what I did, both right and very wrong. (If anybody Syrian or Lebanese is sitting out there silent but laughing, help out, won'tcha?):
* * * * * * * * *
Made a pretty standard baklawa filling -- nuts (in this case, almost whole), some sugar, a bit of orange blossom water. Decided it was going to make me crazy working with it since it just fell apart, so threw some melted ghee in too. Minor improvement at best.
Got my box of frozen kataifi and thawed it. First time I've handled the stuff, so I walked around it a couple of times to try to find the entrance, and when that wasn't obvious ... just dug in. Kinda like trying to untangle a skein of very thin yarn.
Managed, somehow, to get it into a flat-ish shape. Decided it was way too much for the pistachio filling, so quick whipped up some walnut filling as well (same idea as the pistachio but fairly finely chopped, plus allspice). Pulled off a section of the kataifi that looked about right, took a deep breath, and piled the pistachio filling on in what I tried
to make a neat row.
A neat row that pretty much just tumbled down, but somehow I managed to sort of roll the kataifi around it. I very soon realized that I was completely wrong about the proportions and that the walnut filling hadn't been necessary at all (my nut center was about 4 centimeters diameter when it should have been about 1.5 at most!).
Moving it to the frypan into the hot ghee was entertaining too, however, the good news is that from there on in, things got much easier.
The sauteeing in ghee was very straightforward and immediately the downwards side got firm so as I rotated it, it began to finally hold together. Sauteed it until all sides (making it kinda square, sigh) were a golden brown and fished it out. Poured my (cold) syrup over it and left it to rest. Syrup was a fairly light sugar syrup with a bit of lemon juice and a generous bit of orange blossom water. (As it rested, laid half the remaining kataifi out in a small square pan, topped it with the walnut mixture and then the final bit of kataifi and popped it into the oven. Syruped as above.)
Results? Flavor about a 9 out of 10, i.e., very much on target. Presentation about a 2 out of 10! Big, clumsy, not crunchy enough, not sliceable without just falling apart. Walnut one bloody excellent.
Did the family complain? Nope, not a word! Generally more than just edible, and overall pretty promising!
What ideas do I have for next time?
-- pre-mix the nuts with a bit of a thicker sugar syrup, hopefully so that they'll not only stick together but will allow me to roll them into a cylinder of sorts
-- providing I can accomplish that (big if ...) thereafter maybe a thinner bit of kataifi (again, big if ... hard stuff to work with!) wrapped several times around would hold.
-- would baking briefly prior to sauteeing help it hold firm?
-- sauteeing basically okay (although I suspect a thicker grade of "thread" might be available elsewhere since this was very "wispy" stuff). Honestly, it would be easier and still very, very delicious to just wrap it up in filo.
-- needed more syrup overall, and possibly a bit
Anyhow, those are my notes! ANY AND ALL SUGGESTIONS WOULD BE VERY, VERY WELCOME!