This week’s trip to Greece will be taking a bit of a different route to our previous trips. With an oven that doesn’t feel like cooking (of course with a part on backorder) and a lot going on, I wasn’t able to make something from Greece myself. This is pretty disappoint for me but let’s just make the best of it and enjoy all that Greece has to offer in other ways. I visited Athens and some of the Greek Islands a few years ago for a friend’s 30th birthday. We travelled from all over the globe to meet and hadn’t seen each other in years which made the trip extra special. I thought I’d share some beautiful snaps from that trip and of course, we’re still going to talk about the food. How could we not?! Greece? It’s a wonderful place to eat. The fresh olives, the feta cheese, the ouzo, the honey-sweet pastries…add friendly locals and breathtaking surrounds and it’s a perfect place to visit. Hopefully my kitchen will be back in tip-top shape soon and I can either stay in Greece for another week or double back after my next destination for a return visit. This is definitely a place to linger over a meal.
Ready for dessert? I can’t resist a Greek pastry, especially if it involves angel hair phyllo. Has anyone tried to use this stuff? I’ve used regular phyllo before, but this stuff just blows my mind!
I first had it last year at The Taste of the Danforth, a Greek food festival that takes place each summer in Toronto. I’m a fairly recent Greek pastry convert, having never had it as a child, so I feel it’s my duty to catch up on all that uneaten baklava.
Officially, this type of dessert using angel hair phyllo is called Kataifi. That’s the Greek name for this type of pastry. Here is a recipe I found from Ultimate Guide To Greek Food. With a name like that, it’s gotta be good. Anyone up for being the kitchen tester on this one?
- 500g (1lb) Kataifi pastry
- 180g (6oz) butter, melted
- 300g (10oz) walnuts and blanched almonds, chopped coarsely
- 50g (2oz) sugar
- 1 egg white, beaten lightly
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 300g (10 oz) sugar
- 300ml (1/2 pint) water
- thin strip of lemon peel
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 50g (2 oz) pistachio nuts, chopped coarsely
Pre-Heat oven to 180C, 350F, Gas 4
Brush a large baking dish with a little of the melted butter.
You can put the nuts in a food processor to chop up into small pieces.
Place all the filling ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Spread the pastry out on a bench, pulling apart slightly so its not clumped up.
Cover with baking paper and a clean damp towel to stop it drying out whilst working with it.
Pull out a handful of dough at a time, spread it out into a rectangular shape.
Brush or sprinkle the melted butter over the pastry.
Place a tablespoon of the filling along the middle of the pastry.
Tuck the sides and ends in and then roll it up firmly, keeping any loose strands in place.
Roll tightly so the filling is enclosed securely.
It will look like a short fat cigar.
Don’t worry if its very messy looking!
Place in the baking tray, seams side down.
Repeat with the rest of the ingredients.
Place them fairly close together in the tray, but not touching, otherwise they will not crisp up.
Brush the melted butter over all the tops and sides of the pastry. Don’t skimp on drizzling the butterover the pastry, its what gives the strands a lovely golden color, stops them from sticking together whilst cooking and imparts a delicious melt in the mouth flavour.
Bake in the oven for approx 30 minutes, depending on your oven, or until lightly golden brown and cooked.
Be careful here, as they can cook very quickly if they are not too thick, especially the outer edges of the pastry.
Whilst they are cooking, make the syrup.
Place all the syrup ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
Stir to dissolve the sugar, then simmer for 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
When the kataifi are cooked, remove from the oven, leaving them in the baking tray.
Pour all the syrup over the pastry rolls.
Sprinkle with the chopped pistachio nuts.
Leave to stand, covered for a couple of hours for the flavours to infuse and to soak up the sweet syrup.
Keep in a covered container at room temperature, to prevent drying out.