I am the kind of chef which adores to push her own ignorance limits, and as someone who started its own adventure in the kitchen less than 10 years ago, this happens quite often. I am always open to talk and share my fears and failures, hardship to get accustomed to various tastes and ingredients and the repeated tries to match them.
I am brave enough to never give up and dare to make at home lovely recipes of meals that I never thought I will ever be able to prepare on my own.
I grow up completely ignorant about sweets - part of the reason being that I was allergic to plenty of things and the other half that both my in-house nanny and my mother were for various reasons the worse bakers in the world. But I loved to enjoy once in a while outrageously sweet desserts, such as kadayif - or kataif, which I tasted under various variants in the Turkish restaurants since moving to Germany Until today, I've never dreamed of ever preparing my own, not only by following a recipe but by daring to adapt it to my own choices and creative ideas.
The following recipe is adapted from the very resourceful book by Suzanne Zeidy, Rosewasser&Granatapfel, that you will read about on this blog at least one more time. It is a complex recipe, which requires a lot of time and attention, but with delicious results that you can't wait to repeat.
500 ml. water
300 gr. brown sugar
100 gr. white sugar
4 tablespoon orange blossom; the same quantity of rose water can be used
the juice of a half a lemon, medium size
250 gr. regular butter
500 gr. ricotta cheese
500 gr. ready made kadayif noodles - purchased from any Turkish store, for under 2 Eur.
If you want some extra sweetness, you can also add some 2 tablespoons of honey to the syrup.
Heat the oven at 250C, at least 15 minutes before the ingredients are prepared.
There are several development stages of the kadayif. The following order is how I've proceeded.
1. The syrup
In a pan add the: water, brown sugar and orange blossom water. Mix well. After 10 minutes, add the lemon juice. Let it boil for around 5 minutes. When ready, put on the side.
2. The noodles
Broke the noodles in two equal parts. Set in the pan half of it, while spreading all over. Meanwhile, heat the butter and spread half of it on the noodles.
The second half will be added when the ricotta content will be ready, together with the butter.
3. The ricotta filling
Mix the ricotta and the white sugar until a creamy compact pasta. Spread it all over the noodles, trying to cover as much as possible.
Add the rest of the noodles.
What happens next is a matter of choice.
The original recipe recommend to bake it for around 30 minutes and only after that to add the syrup. My choice was to add the syrup and bake it for around 45 minutes. In this way, all the ingredients are melting together and it is also less sweet as expected (maybe also because of the brown sugar, which is again my choice).
After 15 minutes of baking, I've cut the kadayif into small portions, which helped a lot to portion it when ready to be served.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 40-45 minutes
I personally had it with a glass of sugar-free mint tea, or a big cup of black Turkish coffee. I kept it at the room temperature, well covered in an Aluminium sheet, and warmed it before serving, at least for 5 minutes at 250C.