This clever recipe was passed to me by my best friend Pelin who got it from Hulya, one of her colleagues at work. Well, I'm eternally grateful to both for this recipe, because it combines two traditional and popular desserts in Turkey, Greece and Middle East: Kadayif and Muhallebi, which means it combines "crunchy" and "syrupy" with "soft" and "creamy"...Yum!..:)
Plus, it uses one of my favorite spices: Mastic (Mastic, Wonderful Mastic (Sakiz), which takes it to the next level.
- 1 3/4 sticks butter (divided into 1 and 3/4)
- 1/2 lb. shredded fillo dough/Kataifi (Recommended brand: Apollo)
- 2 cups granulated sugar (divided into 1 and 1)
- 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 4 cups whole milk
- 4-5 oz. clotted cream or mascarpone cheese
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon smashed mastic tears (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
Directions: (Serves 8-12)
- In a shallow pot, melt 1 stick of butter over medium heat. Add the shredded dough, breaking it up into pieces (do not break up too much, since it will break up further when sauteing) and saute until it starts turning color, stirring frequently.
- Add 1 cup of the sugar and the walnuts and continue sauteing until walnuts are nicely toasted, stirring frequently (you will most probably start smelling the walnuts when they are toasted - be careful not to burn them tough). Set aside to cool down.
- Put the flour in another pot; by adding the milk gradually, whisk flour and milk to make sure there are no lumps of flour left. Put the pot on medium heat, add the remaining 1 cup sugar and stir constantly, until it comes to a boil.
- Add the remaining 3/4 stick of butter, the clotted cream or mascarpone cheese and the mastic or vanilla; remove from the heat; and mix with an electric mixer at medium speed for 15 minutes (This will give the pudding the desired consistency).
- Cover the bottom of a 10x10 square or 9x13 rectangular serving dish (preferably glass or porcelain) with half of the shredded dough mixture. Pour the pudding over it to cover. Cover the pudding with the remaining half of the shredded dough mixture.
- Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours for the pudding to set (overnight is always better).
- To save time, you can cook the pudding and the kataifi topping simultaneously. Just have all your ingredients and tools ready by your side when you start cooking, since you need to check and stir both the pudding and the topping constantly. This way the cooking should all together take about 20-30 minutes.
- This is a rich dessert; if you want a lighter version, you can reduce the amount of sugar and butter to 3/4 or even to half of above given measurements (both for the pudding and the topping).