I’m sure we’ve all eaten sweet Greek pastries made with kataifi pastry. I remember the annual Greek pastry sale in Knoxville, Tennessee where we bought baklava and something that looked like it but with pastry that looked like shredded wheat. We loved it but at the time I had no idea you could buy it frozen.
I went to a cooking class on using kataifa pastry recently and was expecting something sweet and yummy but arrived to find we were going to make cheese rolls. My inner foodie was geared up for sweet so initially I was disappointed. Once I changed gears I began to look forward to biting into that cheesy goodness.
The only thing that’s not “dump in the bowl and stir” is grating the cheese. A beginner cook can serve these to guests and look really clever.If the full recipe is too much for you as it was for us — there are only two of us and we weren’t entertaining, only gorging ourselves — then you can wrap the extras and freeze them before soaking in the custard mixture.
These are not quick rolls to make but they aren’t difficult. The rolls have to soak in the milk, cream and eggs for an hour before baking but making the rolls is quick-ish and the best bit is that you can make them ahead of time up to the point where you have to soak them. This is an easy peasy wonderful appetizer that will wow your guests and won’t keep you from spending time with your friends.
On my plate ready to pick up and eat. I will tell you that the baked pastry can be a bit crumbly so ladies, if you’re well endowed, check the shelf after eating. I had enough for a snack for later. 🙂
Here’s the recipe:
- 4 tbs butter plus extra for greasing
- 4 eggs
- 450 grams feta cheese
- 450 grams grated kaseri, gruyere or gouda cheese
- 50 grams ham
- 1 tbs parsley
- handful of baby spinach leaves
- 800 grams kataifi pastry
- 4 tbs corn or canola oil (high flash point and unflavored oil)
- ⅔ cup milk
- ⅔ cup cream
- Grease and ovenproof baking dish with butter and set aside
- Lightly beat 2 of the eggs in a bowl
- Season with pepper and stir in the cheeses, ham and parsley
- Tease out kataifi pastry and divide into 20 to 25 long sections
- Cover pastry with a damp tea towel to keep from drying out
- Take one section of kataifi and pat gently between your palms.
- Place 1-2 spinach leaves near the end of the length of kataifi pastry and one tbs of cheese mixture.
- Roll and place in the baking dish
- Continue until all pastry and cheese mixture is used
- Heat 4 tbs of butter and canola oil together and drizzle over the rolls in the baking dish
- At this point you can wrap and freeze if you don't want to use now.
- One hour before baking, beat eggs, milk and cream and pour over the rolls.
- Let stand for one hour for the rolls to absorb the liquid.
- Preheat oven to 175C or just under 350F
- Bake 35 to 40 minutes til golden brown