Easy Kadaifi With Walnuts and Almonds 15.000

Jennifer Chase for The Washington Post

Sep 4, 2018

This dish is reminiscent of baklava in taste and texture but takes less time and effort to prepare. For best flavor, make it a few days in advance. It’s an alternative to the typical honey cake served for the Jewish New Year.

Kadaifi is known as kadaif throughout the Mideast and elsewhere the treat is enjoyed, but the Greeks add a final “i” to the name consistent with their language. Like phyllo, the shredded dough dries out quickly, so it’s important to keep the portion not being used covered with a slightly damp cotton towel. It is available in the freezer section Middle Eastern, international and some gourmet markets (such as Shemali's in the District and Asadur's and Yekta in Rockville). Keep it frozen until the day before you want to use it, then defrost in the packaging overnight in the refrigerator.

Be sure to use the freshest nuts you can find; taste a walnut before using.

Serve with dollops of Greek yogurt or lightly sweetened whipped cream.

To read the accompanying story, see: For this Greek immigrant, Jewish New Year brings back sweet memories — and foods — of home.


Servings:
15 - 18

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 15-18 servings

Ingredients
  • For the syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cup sugar
  • One 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 3 or 4 whole cloves
  • 2 or 3 strips of lemon peel (with little or no white pith), plus 1 teaspoon juice (from 1/2 lemon)
  • For the pastry
  • 3/4 cup raw walnut halves
  • 3/4 cup blanched almonds (skinned; whole or slivered)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pound kadaifi dough, defrosted overnight in the refrigerator (see headnote)
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

Directions

For the syrup: Measure the water in a large liquid measuring cup, then add the honey; this way, it will be easier to pour out all the honey. Pour the liquids into a saucepan, then stir in the sugar. Add the cinnamon stick, cloves (to taste) and lemon rind. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; once the sugar has dissolved, reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 20 minutes, to form a slightly thickened syrup. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and let cool to room temperature, then strain, discarding the solids.

While the syrup is cooking, make the pastry: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use cooking oil spray to lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish.

Combine the walnuts and almonds in a food processor; pulse until finely chopped but not ground into meal. Alternately, finely chop each kind of nut separately by hand. Mix the chopped nuts with sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.

Take the defrosted kadaifi dough out of its packaging and carefully unfold it on a clean countertop. Gently pull apart the strands of dough to a length of 14 inches and spread them fairly evenly. Cut the dough lengthwise in half. Cover the half you won’t be using right away with a slightly damp clean dish towel.

Use both hands to place the dough in the baking dish. Gently pull and spread the strands of dough until the bottom is evenly covered and there are no clumps of dough.

Use about half the melted butter to drizzle over and/or brush on the dough, then cover it with the chopped nuts mixture, leaving a narrow margin at the edges. Uncover the remaining half of the dough and place it on top of the nuts. Gently pull and spread its strands to evenly cover. Tuck in this top layer’s edges so there aren't any stray strands. Drizzle and/or brush the remaining butter over the top.

Use a sharp knife to cut through the kadaifi layers, while you press gently with your free hand to keep the strands/layers in place, creating a total of 15 to 18 pieces. Bake (middle rack) for 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown.

Remove from the oven; immediately use the knife to reinforce and cut through those same places, making sure the separate pieces remain intact. Quickly pour the cooled syrup evenly over the pan of hot pastry. Let cool for at least 2 hours.

Serve at room temperature, or cover and store at room temperature for up to 3 days, which will retain the softer, crisper texture, or refrigerate for up to 5 days.

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Recipe Source

From food writer and cooking instructor Susan Barocas.

Tested by Susan Barocas and Bonnie S. Benwick.

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