From Julie Van Rosendaal
Kataifi is finely shredded phyllo dough, available in most Middle Eastern groceries alongside the phyllo and often used for baklava. Here, it’s tossed in melted butter and pressed into a pie plate or cake pan, layered with honey-sweetened ricotta and topped with more kataifi, for a ridiculously delicious creamy-crunchy dessert that’s divine topped with sweet-tart stewed plums. The plums can be simmered in advance and kept in the fridge until you’re ready for them.
1 pkg (about 340 g) kataifi (shredded phyllo dough), thawed
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 c. ricotta
1/4 c. honey (or to taste)
2 T. cream
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. water
1 cinnamon stick
a few green cardamom pods (optional)
1 t. vanilla
3 plums, pitted and chopped
1/4 c. sugar, or to taste
crème fraîche or whipped cream (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, gently pull the kataifi apart with your fingers, and cut it with scissors so that it’s in roughly 2-inch pieces – just enough to make it easier to handle. Drizzle with the melted butter and toss to coat the phyllo well.
Press a bit more than half of the mixture into a deep pie plate, baking dish or cake pan, and use your fingers or the bottom of a measuring cup to press it down into the bottom and up the sides. (It doesn’t have to be perfect.) Stir together the ricotta, honey and cream and spread it over the bottom. Top with the remaining kataifi, pressing loosely to make an even surface.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, until deep golden. As the torte bakes, bring the sugar and water to a simmer, adding the cinnamon stick and cardamom pods. Simmer for a minute, remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan or skillet, cook the plums and sugar over medium-high heat until the mixture is soft and saucy.
Remove the cinnamon stick and cardamom pods from the syrup and pour it evenly over the torte while it’s still hot. Once cooled at least slightly, invert it onto a plate and serve in wedges with the stewed plums and a dollop of crème fraîche or whipped cream, if you like. Serves 8.