Shredded pastry with custard

Shredded pastry with custard

Muhallebili kadayıf tatlısı

Turkish Fire
Alicia Taylor

In Turkey, people go out to specialty shops for sweets. One shop, called muhallebici, will only sell milk puddings. Another shop, called pastane, will only sell biscuits and cookies with cups of tea and coffee. Then of course you have your dondurmacı, selling the most beautiful Turkish ice creams, which you buy by the kilo, and you have your baklavacı, where you buy baklava, also by the kilo. You must think, how big will these Turks be? But we have so much fire we burn it off, no matter how much baklava we eat!


Quantity Ingredient
500g kadayif pastry, (see note)
250g unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for greasing
65g crushed pistachio nuts, to serve
dried unsprayed rose petals, to garnish (optional)
pomegranate seeds, to garnish (optional)

Sugar syrup

Quantity Ingredient
460g caster sugar
375ml water
2 tablespoons lemon juice


Quantity Ingredient
1 litre milk
250g caster sugar
60g cornflour
90g rice flour
1 free-range egg yolk


  1. Mix all the syrup ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10–15 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter a baking tray.
  3. Place the pastry in a large bowl. Gently loosen the strands with your fingertips. Pour the melted butter over the pastry and mix well with your fingers, to coat all the pastry with butter.
  4. Put all the muhallebili ingredients in a saucepan. Whisk together really well, then place over a medium heat. Stirring constantly, cook for about 5–10 minutes, until the mixture thickens into a custard.
  5. Take a small teacup, then take enough of the pastry to fill the bottom of the teacup. Now add a tablespoon of the custard, then cover with enough pastry to reach the rim. Turn the cup out onto the baking tray. Repeat with the remaining pastry and custard.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Remove from the oven and pour the cooled sugar syrup over them, while they’re still nice and hot.
  7. Serve warm, sprinkled with the crushed pistachios, and garnished with dried rose petals and pomegranate seeds if desired.


  • Kadayıf is a kind of filo pastry that has been shredded into fine threads or strands, and looks like a shredded-wheat breakfast cereal. It also goes by the Greek name, kataifi, and is available from Middle Eastern and Mediterranean grocery stores.
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