Prep time: 15 minutes
About this recipe
These golden nests contain so many elements inspired by my client’s tale of letting her daughter go: there is, of course, the nest itself, and its individual nature. The milk, rather than dark, chocolate chips are a hark back to Fry’s, as is the fragrance of rose. And, in the spirit of a childhood story, when these are baked you might have some wayward strands of pastry poking out of each nest that will be deeply coloured and crisp, which I like to think of as Rapunzel’s split ends. This Greek Cypriot treat was my favourite as a child and affectionately anglicised in our family as ‘shredded wheat pudding’ – the golden, but very tenuous, thread of nominal connection to English pudding being the presence of syrup. For me, this is noshtalgia at its best.
For the syrup:
- 225ml water
- 170g sugar
- 1 tablespoon rose water
For the filling:
- 110g chopped almonds
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons rose water
- 1 tablespoon water
- 20g milk chocolate chips
For the pastry itself:
- 125g kataifi pastry
- 6 teaspoons olive oil
- Sea salt flakes to garnish
You will need a standard 12-cup muffin tray.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6.
- Combine all the ingredients for the syrup in a saucepan and boil gently for 5 minutes. Pour into a jug and leave to cool.
- Mix the ingredients for the filing together and set aside.
- Fill a small bowl with water. Wet your hands and pull off a small amount of kataifi strands and mould into one of the cups of the muffin tray – the pastry should fill approximately half of the cup’s capacity (you will have around 1.5-2cm depth of pastry, depending on your particular muffin tray). If your pastry is especially dry, it too might benefit from a swift dip in the water – the pastry strands need to be damp enough to be mouldable in the muffin cup.
- Place a teaspoon of filling on top of each kataifi nest base. Then, using the same technique as before, top each with dampened kataifi strands so that each muffin cup is full.
- Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of olive oil over each nest. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the nests are golden blonde and crisp.
- Remove from the oven and pour over the cooled syrup – each nest will need a generous tablespoon. Allow 30 minutes for syrup soaking. Just before eating dot a few sea salt flakes on each nest.