Cheese-stuffed kataifi

Cheese-stuffed kataifi

Mark Roper

These crunchy, cheesy pastries are definitely not for the calorieconscious, as they need liberal brushing with butter to make them crisp and golden. Kataifiis a noodle-like wheat pastry, probably best known in sweet pastries, but it works just as well for savouries. The tiny pieces of fig add a nice sweetness to the richness of the cheese. If you can’t find Fiore di Latte, any other mozzarella will do.

This quantity makes 8 good-sized pastries to eat as a starter, and they also work well baby-size, as canapés for a drinks party.



Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 small shallots, finely chopped
garlic, finely chopped
100g grated haloumi
100g fiore di latte, chopped
120g fetta, chopped
100g pine nuts, fried until golden brown
30g breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon coriander leaves, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon parsley leaves, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon mint leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 lemon, zested
3 dried figs, diced and soaked in water for 30 minutes
180g kataifi pastry
180g unsalted butter, melted
freshly ground white pepper
1 tablespoon Za’atar


  1. To make the stuffing, heat the olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the shallots and garlic for a few minutes, until they soften. Allow to cool.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine the cheeses with the pine nuts, breadcrumbs, egg and egg yolk. Add the shallots mixture, all the herbs and lemon zest. Drain the excess liquid from the figs, add them to the cheese mixture and mix everything well. Use your hands to form the cheese into 8 neat golfballs and keep to one side.
  3. Carefully unfold the kataifipastry into 1 long skein and ease away half. Return the rest to the packet, seal tightly and refrigerate or freeze for future use. Trim the pastry to 25 cm long pieces and carefully divide into 8 sections. Work with one section at a time, keeping the rest covered with a damp tea-towel to prevent it drying out. Bunch the strands together tightly, and lay out in a strip along the work surface. Brush along the length of the pastry with melted butter and sprinkle with white pepper. Place a golfball of cheese at one end and roll it up halfway along the pastry. Then carefully turn the parcel about 180 degrees and roll the remaining pastry across the other way. You should end up with a fat criss-crossed pastry ball. Repeat with the remaining pastry and cheese. Cover the pastries with a damp cloth and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before baking.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  5. Place the pastries on a baking tray lined with baking paper and cook them in the centre of the oven for 8–10 minutes, until they are golden brown and crisp. Drain on kitchen paper and serve immediately, sprinkled with Za’atar.
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