Even though not as well known as fillo pastry, kataifi pastry (pronounced with evenly stressed syllables: ka-ta-if-ee), is also a very versatile pastry that is becoming more commonly used. With its origins argued over by the peoples of southern Europe, Asia Minor and the Middle East, many nationalities and cultures like to claim the origins of this type of pastry as their own.
To describe the pastry is to say that it looks like vermicelli when it is raw and like a shredded wheat breakfast cereal when it is cooked. Many people do in fact call it “shredded pastry.” The pastry is made from a batter that is poured through a container in which there are fine holes. The fine streams of batter flow onto a moving heated metal plate on which the pastry is dried/cooked briefly.
Traditionally it has been used for the making of sweets that are soaked in syrup, generally with a filling of a variety of nuts. Some traditional kataifi pastry recipes call for the baking of the pastry while other recipes are designed for the pastry to be traditionally fried in clarified butter. As with fillo pastry however many creative sweet and savoury recipes have been developed for this pastry.
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