Think of crispy, syrupy shredded filo pastry, with ground almonds in between, and a delicious cheesecake ice cream on top. This Kataifi Ice Cream Torte is simply amazing!
Even though this isn't a traditional Greek recipe, it is very similar to Ekmek Kataifi.
What is Kataifi?
Kataifi is shredded filo. Think of filo dough that's shredded into very fine threads. It is sold frozen, and you need to thaw and separate the threads to use it in cooking. Kataifi is also the name of the popular Greek dessert that is made using this shredded filo pastry, which is very similar to Baklava.
What It Tastes Like
Kataifi ice cream torte tastes like baklava with cheesecake ice cream. In other words so so good! This Kataifi cheesecake has a very sweet and very crunchy base and a dense creamy ice cream with a sourish and refreshing taste, plus a sweet, spiced cinnamon aftertaste.
How To Make
To make Kataifi Ice Cream Torte you make the Kataifi base first and then allow it to reach room temperature.
The base is very easy to make. You just need to thaw the Kataifi dough in the fridge overnight and then allow it to reach room temperature for half an hour before removing it from its package.
Working Kataifi Dough
To use Kataifi dough you need to separate the threads. This sounds more intimidating than it actually is. As you only need to pull them apart (not actually separate them one by one) just take a handful in your hands and pull them (it doesn't matter if they tear) until you have a fluffy mess.
This is done to allow the air in and bake to crispy perfection. If threads are attached together it won't cook properly and will become too hard.
Making The Base
To make the Kataifi base add half of the Kataifi dough to a round 26 cm (10-inch) Springform pan that you have brushed with butter. Toss the ground almonds on top and cover with the remaining Kataifi dough. Drizzle generously with melted butter and bake until deep golden (very light brown) and crispy.
While the Kataifi is baking you need to start making the syrup. The syrup needs to be hot when added to the base. To make the syrup add sugar, water, a cinnamon stick, and a slice of lemon and bring to a boil.
Cook the syrup over high heat for about 3-4 minutes. You may stir the syrup before it starts to boil but not after. Because it will make the sugar crystals stick together forming sugar lumps.
Ladle the lightly thickened syrup over the hot Kataifi once it's baked. And then let it reach room temperature.
Making The Cheesecake Ice Cream
This cheesecake ice cream doesn't require an ice cream machine. To make it you beat two separate mixtures using an electric mixer and then combine into one.
The first one is cream cheese, sugar, milk, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt. And the second is a whipped cream made of heavy cream and sugar.
Once you fully combine these two mixtures and have a velvety cream you spread it over the cooled Kataifi base, (or you can use a pipping bag like I did and decorate the top).
Sprinkle plenty of ground cinnamon on top and place in an airtight food container. Or cover with plastic wrap and then some aluminum foil.
Freeze overnight and allow it to thaw for 10-15 minutes before cutting.
You can skip the ground cinnamon on top and instead use any of the following toppings to add when ready to serve.
- Cherry Preserves (affiliate link).
- Strawberry Sauce (easy no-bake recipe)
- Orange Jam (you can try my homemade orange jam recipe that I use in making Pasta Flora) + Ground Cinnamon
- Red Berry Sauce
Kataifi Ice Cream Torte
For The Kataifi Base:
- 250 grams (8.8 ounce) Kataifi dough
- 70 grams (2.4 ounce) butter melted
- 70 grams (2.4 ounce) raw almonds
For The Syrup:
- 250 grams (1+¼ cup) sugar
- 180 ml water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 thick slice of lemon
For The Cheesecake Ice Cream:
- 450 grams (15.8 ounce) cream cheese (such as Philadelphia)
- 75 grams (6 tablespoons) sugar
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 400 grams (14 ounce) heavy cream
- ground cinnamon
- Thaw the Kataifi dough in the fridge overnight. Then remove the package from the fridge 30 minutes before you start to make the torte.
- In a small food processor add the almonds and pulse until finely chopped. Set aside.
Make The Kataifi Base:
- Preheat oven to (170°C 340°F).
- Brush a round 10-inch Springform pan with melted butter.
- Lay open the Kataifi base and start pulling the threads apart from each other. When separated add half of the Kataifi to the pan to form a base.
- Sprinkle the almonds on top. Cover with the remaining Kataifi on top.
- Drizzle the melted butter all over the Kataifi.
- Bake for about 40 minutes or until deep golden and crispy all over.
- While the Kataifi bakes make the syrup.
Make The Syrup:
- Add all of the ingredients for the syrup in a saucepan.
- Stir with a spoon until it starts to boil. Don't stir anymore from the moment it starts to boil.
- Allow the syrup to cook uncovered for 3-4 minutes (from the time it starts to boil) over high heat or until lightly thickened.
- Remove the syrup from the heat. When the Kataifi is baked ladle the syrup over it.
- Allow the Kataifi to reach room temperature.
Make The Cheesecake Ice Cream:
- Beat the heavy cream over medium-high speed until it starts to thicken slightly. Then gradually add ⅓ of the sugar to it. Beat until sugar is dissolved and cream has thickened.
- With the whisk attachment to your electric mixer, beat the cream cheese together with remaining ⅔ of the sugar for 4 minutes over medium speed.
- Add the milk, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt and beat until combined.
- Then turn off your mixer and whisk together the two mixtures until uniform.
- Spread the cream cheese over the Kataifi. You may save ⅓ of it to add to a piping bag and decorate the top.
- Dust plenty of cinnamon on top. Or leave as is to serve with any red berry preserves, jam, or syrup if you prefer.
- Place the pan in an airtight food container and add to the freezer overnight. Or cover with plastic wrap and aluminum foil.
- Allow the torte to thaw for 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving.