This is one of those pastries that once you bite into (for a small little bite of course), you find yourself eating the entire thing and swooning all the way. It is extra crunchy, yet light, and sweet but not too much, and nutty; in short, heavenly. They are called tajate (crowns)
These are not difficult to make but need some planning ahead. They are made with a dough called kadaifi (or shredded phyllo dough) in the US and osmalliyeh in Lebanon. In Lebanon, some shops specialize in making this dough fresh; in the US, it is sold frozen in 1-pound packages.
The key is to get it as golden and crispy as possible; and there is only one way to do this: Soaking it in plenty of melted butter or oil (or a combo). In pastry shops, these pastries are fried, but for home use it is not necessary (and a lot less messy).
The syrup can be prepared several days ahead or even weeks and kept in the fridge.
INGREDIENTS: Makes 2 dozens (more or less depending on the size of the muffin tins); quantity can be halved or doubled.
- 1 box kadaifi dough (1 pound)
- 2 cups melted unsalted butter or oil or a combination of both
- 2 cups sugar syrup
- 3 cups assorted nuts, unsalted if possible
- 1/2 cup ground pistachio nuts for garnish if desired
1. Make the syrup and store in a jar in the fridge, covered.
2. Unravel the pastry over the countertop; take thin strands at a time and coil them and place them one at a time in a muffin or cupcake tin. Leave overnight for the pastry to dry out. If you have several pans, place one on top of the other. This will ensure the pastries will hold their shape while baking.
3. The next day, douse the pastries in melted butter or oil. Set the nuts on the surface of each pastry in a concentric circle. Preheat the oven to 375F and bake them until they are golden and crisp. If the butter is oozing out, tilt the pans and drain the excess butter. Pour the syrup over the pastries. Sprinkle with pistachios if desired and let them sit to absorb the syrup for a few hours. Serve. These will keep in a tight container for several days.
3 cups of sugar
1 1/2 cup of water
1 Tablespoon of lemon juice
1 Tablespoon of rose water, 1 Tablespoon of orange blossom water
- Place the sugar in a saucepan, add the water and the lemon juice (it is OK to use bottled lemon juice). Set on medium heat, stirring from time to time. It will boil. Let it boil and don’t stir anymore. It needs to boil for about 12 minutes. If you own a candy thermometer, it will read 230F or 110C, which is one notch below softball. One minute before the end of cooking add the flavorings, orange blossom and rose water or one or the other. ( I add both)
- Let the syrup cool and if using that day, set it aside. If not cover and refrigerate for a few days or weeks.