Apples and Creme Kadayif

If you have never had Kadayif (Kataifi) before, it's kinda like Paklava (Baklava), only the dough is shredded.  I never really understood that premise... Kadayif dough is always referred to as shredded Phyllo, but the texture is completely different.  I can only assume that means it's the same ingredients at a different ratio???  Typically, you will see Kadayif one of three ways - with a cheese filling, a cream filling, or the traditional cinnamon/sugar/walnut or pecan mixture you would find in Paklava.  

The first time I made it, I went with Cream Kadayif, and much like going out to a new restaurant and enjoying your meal so much that when you go back, you can't bring yourself to order something new ... I was stuck on the cream filling.  To this day, I have never made a cheese or nut Kadayif.  I have, however, because of participating in some friendly challenges with a group of buddies, made a lemon version and a pumpkin version.  This was my first stab at apple.  I figured everyone in our family loves Apple Crisp.  The guys tend to stay away from Apple Pie because they don't like crust.  Doing it this way satisfies everyone.  I get my Kadayif, they get their apple filling without the crust.  It's a win/win.

If you have ever wanted to make Paklava but were intimidated by the thought of it (you shouldn't be - it's really not difficult), if you can find Kadayif dough in your area, maybe you could try this first, just to get a feel for it.

I was already knocking around the idea of an Apple Kadayif before receiving some sample Japanese citrus juices from Marx Foods, but since the Kadayif requires a simple syrup, and I do have the juices now, I decided to combine them.  I'm also all about the Philadelphia Cooking Creme at the moment [you have to try the Santa Fe blend on broccoli], trying to find ways to use it in place of other ingredients, etc., so I decided to use that as well.  Hmmm, does that make this a Cheese Kadayif or a Cream Kadayif???  ;)

1/4 c currants (can use more - that's all I had left)
2 T Sudachi juice 
1 t vanilla

3 Granny Smith apples
1 Braeburn apple
1/2 c sugar
1/2 T powdered ginger
2 T Sudachi
1 t vanilla
1 tub Philadelphia Cooking Creme

1 box (1 lb) Kadayif Dough
1 1/2 - 2 sticks butter

1 c sugar
1/2 c water
1 T Sudachi juice

I used the Sudachi juice and this variety of apples because that's what I had on hand.  If you don't have access to the Sudachi, you might want to substitute orange juice, or maybe apple cider, or a liqueur.  As for the apples, when I do this again, I'm thinking this version lends itself more to individual servings baked in ramekins than a baking dish.  I like that the Granny and Braeburn both retained a little bite, both flavor and texture-wise, but it made cutting and plating a little difficult.  I would be slicing a row and cut into a chunk of apple that would pull out of that piece and leave a hole, etc.  Soooooo, unless you decide to use a different apple, that would be softer once baked, I would suggest either going with the ramekins or dicing the apples on the small side.  I left mine a little on the chunky side.  

Start by soaking your currants in the Sudachi and vanilla, giving them a chance to plump up while you peel and dice your apples.

When your apples are all diced, toss them with the sugar, ginger, Sudachi, and vanilla, and let them macerate for 30-60", giving them a stir every now and again to coat.  If you're at all like me [not always the sharpest tool in the shed], you may have diced your apples into a deep bowl.  The problem with that is they are not benefiting from the juicy goodness going on at the bottom of the bowl, so pour them into something shallow!

While your currants are plumping and your apples are macerating, you can turn your attention to the dough.  That's another great thing about Kadayif dough; with Phyllo, you have to worry about whether it was frozen, if so, for how long, what the size is, etc.  This stuff freezes great,  you can use it straight out of the freezer, and it doesn't matter what shape you bake it into!

Here's what it looks like straight out of the box ...

Just use your hands to pull apart the strands.  Shred the whole thing into a large bowl, then melt the butter, pour it over the dough and massage it through with your hands to incorporate.  The butter will run to the bottom, so flip the dough over if you can without tossing it everywhere, and continue to rub it in.  

Give a casserole dish, baking pan, whatever you want to use, a quick spray of cooking spray (just to be on the safe side-probably not necessary with all that butter), then press half the dough into the bottom.

Turning your attention back to your filling, go ahead and dump the currants into the apples and pour off all the liquid.  I always suggest that if you don't want to waste it, you can pour it into a cup of tea.  Once most of the liquid is gone, stir the cooking creme into the apple mixture, then scoop it onto the bottom layer of Kadayif dough.

Top the whole thing with the rest of the dough and bake at 350 until golden, about 40".

While that's in the oven, bring the sugar, water, and Sudachi to a boil, making sure the sugar has dissolved and it boils for a minute or so to thicken.  When the Kadayif is nice and brown, remove it from the oven and pour the syrup over it while still hot.  Serve hot or at room temp.  I never refrigerate Kadayif for the first day or two, because the syrup hardens.  If there is still a little left, I feel obligated to refrigerate it because it does involve a dairy product.  Now that I think about it, that's also probably a personal preference since we usually eat it at room temp.  I guess if you nuked it for a few seconds, the syrup would heat right up again, so refrigerating wouldn't be an issue?  Hmmm, I'm gonna have to try that.  In my defense, I haven't killed anyone yet by leaving it out.  ;)

I have used the Sudachi in a few things already, but I realllllllly liked the whole combination here - the sweetness of the creamy currants and apples balanced against the tartness of the juice and the little bite from the ginger, then the vanilla pulls the whole thing together.  Very good if I do say so myself.  I was secretly very happy about those apple chunks that were dropping by the wayside as I was cutting and scooping servings into pastry cups.  That meant more for me!! 

NOTES:  1) The Sudachi was a free sample provided to me by Marx Foods; 2) If you're wondering why there it a tray under my casserole dish, not having made an apple version before, I was afraid it might bubble over, but it never even came close, so no need to worry about that. 

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