Sweet ricotta pudding

Sweet ricotta pudding

Künefe

By
From
Istanbul
Serves
6-8
Photographer
Steven Joyce

This pudding is made with kadayif, a kind of shredded pastry. It’s often translated as “shredded wheat” but is used so luxuriously, soaked in syrup or coated in butter, that it couldn’t be further from the breakfast cereal of the same name. You can buy it in Turkish or Middle Eastern stores, either frozen or fresh and vacuum sealed, and it keeps for ages. It’s made by extruding wet raw dough through a mesh and onto hot plates, where it sets in long, thin strands. I like künefe best eaten no more than an hour after it is made, while the sweet cheese centre is still just squidgy.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
250g kadayif shredded pastry
100g butter, melted and slightly cooled
60g ricotta
60g buffalo mozzarella, shredded
200g caster sugar
thick cream, ice cream or plain turkish or greek-style yoghurt, to serve (optional)

Method

  1. Grease an 18 cm springform cake tin. Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Gently pull apart the kadayif, 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 lengths.
  2. Place the chopped kadayif in a bowl and add the melted butter. Using your hands, mix thoroughly, ensuring all the pastry gets a good coating of butter. Divide the buttered kadayif 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 thick.
  3. Mix the two cheeses together, again using your hands to ensure they are thoroughly combined. Scatter the cheese mixture thinly on top of the layer of kadayif in the cake tin and use a rubber or plastic spatula to push and spread it evenly over the pastry strands, making sure it completely covers the pastry.
  4. Spread the second half of the kadayif over the cheese layer and press it down with your hands, again ensuring the cheese is totally covered. Bake for 1 hour, or until the pastry is crisp and lightly golden brown.
  5. Meanwhile, mix the sugar with 200 ml 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. It’s ready when it is viscous and coats the back of a spoon. (Unless it becomes fully syrupy, it won’t hold the künefe together.) Remove the syrup from the heat and pour into a jug or bowl to cool.
  6. When the künefe is cooked, remove it from the oven and place on a plate, still in its tin. Pour over the cooled syrup. Leave for 10–15 minutes for the pastry to absorb the syrup and for the whole thing to set slightly. Remove the tin. Cut into small wedges to serve, perhaps with some thick cream, ice cream or yoghurt.
Course:
Dessert
Tags:
Istanbul
Turkey
Turkish
Rebecca
Seal
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