It seems I have developed a thing for bite-sized desserts lately... I think it's because they're cuter this way. Plus you get to eat one, without as much calorie-guilt as having a whole piece all by yourself. It all started with my Mini Sweet Pumpkin Pies With Phyllo. And then the Cinnamon Cookie Recipe With The Whipped Honey Butter (Yeap, those were really good). I know, I know, cookies are mini by default, but those were like a real dessert on their own. Oh, and almost forgot my Chocolate-Dipped Mini Baklava Rolls. But I think it's about time to talk about these Greek Kataifi Bites... Does Kataifi sound like Greek to you?
So What Is Kataifi?
Kataifi is just like phyllo pastry only in a shredded form. It's mostly used for making desserts, but can be used in other types of dishes as well. The difference between phyllo and kataifi pastry is that kataifi can get even crispier when baked.
In Greece, we mostly use it to make two desserts. The one that we call Kataifi which is, in fact, a Baklava but with shredded phyllo, and also instead of layers of nuts in kataifi, the nuts are all nestled in the center of the dough. And the other one is (one of the best desserts ever if you ask me) Ekmek Kataifi where Kataifi pastry is baked, drizzled with syrup, and then topped with a pastry and whipping cream, cinnamon, and nuts. Heavenly delicious!
Can you freeze Kataifi?
Yes. In most cases, Kataifi is bought frozen in a package of 450 grams. You may unfreeze it, use as much as you like (which in this case half a package) and then add back to the freezer.
Is It Easy To Handle?
Yes. You may need to pull its threads apart in order to use it, but it doesn't really matter if you break them. All you really do is to allow some air to pass through the pastry and give it some volume (more air, more crispy).
Note: Just like phyllo, this pastry air-dries quickly so it's better to use immediately. Otherwise, keep it covered with a tea towel.
So, if you like Baklava, than I'm sure you're going to love these Greek Kataifi Bites. Filled with a nut and spice mixture, and baked till crispy. And once they're baked, you pour plenty of hot syrup on top. Then simply wait for it to work its magic and soak the pastry.
This recipe yields about 15 mini Kataifi bites. I believe it's good for starters and enough for a family of 4. If your cooking for more people though, then better double the recipe and use the whole 450-gram package of Kataifi.
I've also included a few pics so you can see how easy it is to make it.
Greek Kataifi Bites (Shredded Phyllo Baklava's)
For The Pastries:
- 200 grams kataifi pastry
- 30 grams almonds
- 20 grams walnuts
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon breadcrumbs
- 150 grams butter melted
For The Syrup:
- 250 grams water
- 350 grams sugar
- NOTE: Unfreeze the Kataifi pastry in the fridge overnight. Once removed from package use immediately. Do not let the pastry sit uncovered because it air-dries easily.
- Preheat oven to 180°C / 356°F.
- Add walnuts, almonds, ground cinnamon, ground cloves and breadcrumbs in a blender. Blend until nuts look coarsely chopped.
- Remove kataifi pastry from package and place on a working surface. Work the kataifi with your hands by gently tearing apart the shreds in order to get fluffy.
- Take a few shreds of the pastry together and create a long strip. Place it on your working surface. Sprinkle the dough with some butter. Take a teaspoon of the filling and add right at the end. Roll the pastry tightly together until you reach the other end of the strip.
- Grease the bottom of a pan with butter and place the rolls.
- Bake for about 15 minutes or until they get a golden color.
For The Syrup:
- While the pastries are in the oven start making the syrup.
- In a small saucepan add sugar and water. Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes without stiring.
- Pour the hot syrup on the pastries right as they come out of the oven.
- Let them rest at room temperature for about 1 hour before serving.