You can find this pastry, made from kadayif (angel hair pastry) and cheese, from the Middle East to Greece. The Turks use a desalted cheese; mozzarella does the job very well.
- 250 g (9 oz/½ packet) kadayif (angel hair) pastry (see Note)
- 125 g (4½ oz) butter, melted and cooled until lukewarm
- 250 g (9 oz) fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into pieces
- kaymak (buffalo’s milk clotted cream) or mascarpone cheese, to serve (see Note)
Syrup (about 200 ml/7 fl oz)
- 200 g (7 oz/scant 1 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make the syrup, put the sugar and 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) water in a small saucepan, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Place the saucepan over medium heat. Bring the syrup mixture to the boil, still stirring, and skim off any white froth that forms on the surface. Add the lemon juice and continue to cook, stirring, for a further 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Untangle and cut the angel hair pastry with scissors (into short 1–2 cm/½–¾ inch lengths) into a large bowl, then mix with the lukewarm melted butter, making sure that you take the time to work the butter through the pastry evenly. Separate into two equal portions. Spread the first portion of pastry over the bottom of a medium frying pan, cover with the mozzarella and top with the second half of the pastry. Pan-fry over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until the pastry is golden underneath. Turn over and cook on the other side (use a plate to carefully slide out and invert the künefe) for a further 10 minutes. Pour the cold syrup over the künefe and serve hot, cut into wedges or squares, with some kaymak.
• Kadayif is available from Turkish, other Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food shops.
• Kaymak is a Turkish dairy product usually made from buffalo’s milk. The milk and/or cream is cooked over very low heat, then left to cool and slightly ferment until thickened. It is similar in many ways to clotted cream and crème fraîche, and either of these can be used as a substitute (as well as mascarpone cheese) if kaymak is unavailable where you live.