Kadayif is one of the most popular Turkish desserts that is made using only a few ingredients. The kadaif noodles are covered in butter and pistachios, then baked to a golden brown, crispy perfection. It gets finished off with a delicious lemon sugar syrup and served with some traditional kaymak cream.
If you love the world-famous Turkish baklava or tulumba dessert, then you will fall in love with this one too! Kadaif is often confused with Turkish kanafeh because both are made with kadaif noodles. Traditional kadayif doesn’t contain any cheese while it is what makes a kanafeh unique.
Tel Kadayif (Shredded Kadaifi) is one of the most well known Turkish desserts with a sweet syrup. Tel is the word we use in Turkish to describe those tiny shreds. Tel kadayif is like tiny and crunchy noodles made from flour and water. It is enhanced with butter, walnut or pistachio, cooked in oven until golden and then soaked in syrup so that it becomes a soft and sweet treat.
This dessert is made in the same way as künefe, but with ground nuts inside rather than cheese. I like to scatter freshly ground pistachios over the top as I love the contrast between the roasty flavours of the nuts in the middle, and the bright green nuts on top. Tel kadayıf is lovely as a dessert with thick cream, ice-cream or yoghurt, or on its own as an afternoon treat.
Kadaif is an extremely popular Turkish dessert that uses shredded filo dough. The term not only refers to the shredded noodles, but also the actual dessert. Kadayif dessert is packed with pistachios or walnuts and sweetened with a syrup. Other common and popular terms used for this dessert include Tel Kadayif or kadaif.
The noodles are an extremely thin type of Turkish noodles that are also used to make some other desserts Kanafeh or Greek kataifi rolls.
Our kadaif recipe is also called a sheet pan kadayif because of the method used. The shredded dough is covered with butter, pressed down into a pan, and then baked until crispy.
Another form of this dessert is called kadayif rolls or stuffed kadayif. The ingredients can stay the same, but the shaping method changes. For these, you incorporate the chopped nuts into the mixture and roll them up into cigar-like shapes.
Alternatively, you can stuff kadaif noodles in a coffee cup, turn it upside down to give it a dome shape and bake. We sometimes make it this way, today we will be sharing the traditional way below.
- 100 g(31/2 oz) butter
- 1½ tbspmilk
- 250 g(9 oz) kadayıf shredded pastry (½ packet)
- 200 g(7 oz/1⅓ cups) pistachios, or a mixture of pistachios and walnuts
- 200 g(7 oz/scant 1 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas 4). Grease a 20 cm (8 in) square cake tin. Melt the butter with the milk in a small saucepan and set aside to cool slightly.
Gently pull apart the kadayıf, making sure none of the strands have clumped together in sticky or dry lumps (discard any bits that are very soggy). Lay it all on a board – it will form an unruly heap – and, using a sharp knife, repeatedly chop straight through the pile, breaking the strands into rough 2.5 cm (1 in) lengths.
Place the chopped kadayif in a bowl and add the melted butter and milk.
Using your hands, mix thoroughly, ensuring all the pastry gets a good coating of butter. Divide the buttered kadayıf into two equal amounts. Press one half into the bottom of the cake tin, ensuring it completely covers the base. It should be about 2 cm (¾ in) thick.
In a food processor or pestle and mortar, grind the nuts quite finely, to a texture a little coarser than rough sand. Scatter 150 g (5 oz/1 cup) of the nuts over the bottom layer of kadayıf pastry, ensuring it is completely covered, right to the edges. Cover the nuts with the second layer of kadayıf, pressing it firmly down and to the edges of the tin. Bake in the oven for 1 hour or until the pastry is crisp and lightly golden brown (be careful not to overcook as the nuts may scorch and become bitter, so if over-browning, cover loosely with foil).
Meanwhile put the sugar with 200 ml (7 fl oz/generous ¾ cup) water in a saucepan. Heat gently until dissolved then bring to the boil and boil briskly until the syrup has reduced by a quarter, to about 150 ml (5 fl oz/½ cup). It’s ready when it is viscous and coats the back of a spoon. (Unless it becomes fully syrupy, it won’t hold the pastry together.) Remove the syrup from the heat and pour into a jug or bowl to cool.
Remove the tel kadayıf from the oven. Pour over the cooled sugar syrup.