OK, so I'm probably doing this backward. If you're going to post a twist on a recipe, you should probably post the original first. In that case, it would be either a Cheese Kadayif, Cream Kadayif (my favorite), or Nut Kadayif. But it's fall, so I'm going with the pumpkin today! I came up with this last year and was told it needed to become a permanent addition to our Thanksgiving table. 😃
When people see Kadayif, they always think they're looking at coconut or shredded wheat, but it's actually a dough. For some reason, if you read the package, it's usually referred to as shredded phyllo dough. I don't get that at all! If it was shredded phyllo, it would be a crumbled mess. The only thing I can figure is that it's made with the same ingredients as phyllo but in different proportions???
1 pkg Kataifi dough (available at Middle Eastern markets or bakeries - some restaurants)
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
3 T sugar
1 can (15 oz) Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin
2 t cinnamon
1 t ground clove
1/4 t salt
2 lg eggs
2 c sugar
1 c water
1 T lemon juice
Shred all of the dough over a large bowl. Because I'm usually bringing Kadayif to some sort of work function or party where plastic utensils may be used, I got into the habit of cutting it into 3 or 4 sections before shredding.
Pour the melted butter over the dough and work it through with your hands to distribute. Press half of the buttered dough into a casserole dish, sheet pan, large cake pan, etc. It's really just a matter of how "high" you want it - if you're trying to "stretch" it to serve more people, etc.
Switching gears, head on over to your mixer and beat the cream cheese with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the pumpkin and spices and continue beating to incorporate. Add the eggs, one at a time, then spread the filling over the dough in your pan and cover with the remaining dough.
Bake at 375 for about 45" until golden. When it just starts to brown, or just comes out of the oven, bring your sugar and water to a boil, then squeeze in the lemon juice and continue to boil for about a minute, stirring. You want to boil it long enough to cool into a syrup, but not so long that it turns into candy! Better too thin than too thick.
Poke some holes in the top of the Kadayif with a small paring knife or lobster pick - heck, you can stab it with a fork if you want - then pour the hot syrup over the top while the Kadayif is still hot. The holes are to make sure the syrup soaks all the way through.
For some reason, the use of Phyllo or Kadayif dough with syrup has been the subject of much discussion over the years. I was always taught to pour hot syrup over cold Paklava to prevent sogginess but to pour hot syrup over hot Kadayif. Others will tell you to pour cold syrup over hot Paklava or hot syrup over cold Kadayif, etc. All I know is this is how I've done it my whole life and I haven't gotten any complaints yet! 😉
Garnish as desired and serve warm or cold. Here, I have topped it with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream and a few pumpkin seeds I candied in a pan with a little brown sugar, cinnamon and butter.
One of my buddies over on BakeSpace, posted a comment below my recipe showing her own twist - she made it and added some crushed pineapple and chopped candied pecan pieces. Got any ideas you want to share???