Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Easy kadaif: another recipe for curly halvah

One of the neat things about blogging is tracking use.  For most of my blog's existence, my tracking was limited to seeing how many hits I got.  The more hits, the less vulnerable my rather precarious psychic health.  However, I have begun to play around with some of the more sophisticated management tools, and which enable you to look more closely at traffic sources.  Many users come to my blog from Facebook, thanks to my shameless self promotion on that social medium.  However, a number do come over the web from search engines.  The latke recipe that I posted last year has gotten a lot of hits in response to queries like "best latke recipe" (as if Google knew).  The lesson here is that in the absence of metatags, use a lot of superlatives in your text and file names.

Recently I got a hit in response to a query looking for "desserts made with curly halvah."  Last year I posted a recipe for kadaif  which relies on curly halvah.  It is my reconstruction of the version served at the Hummus Place and uses the shredded wheat pastry used in Middle Eastern desserts.  Though easy, at least by my standards, it is best made for a crowd. Here is an easier version, which you can make for for yourself if you want.  It is also suitable for those of you who were put off by my recent report of burning the kadaif pastry (and almost burning us out of our apartment). It is not quite a recipe, but it is fun to make and eat, and there is no danger of burning anything:

Easy kadaif:

  1. Crumble a few small shredded wheats or about 1/3 of a large one into a bowl.  For a New England variant, use a spoon of Grape Nuts Cereal.
  2. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (or if you want pareve, coconut sorbet or soy ice cream).
  3. Drizzle some date honey or dark regular honey over the ice cream.
  4. Top with some curly halvah which you pull into shreds by hand.
  5. That's it.
Note on curly halvah:  The only brand which I have been able to find is Achva, from Israel.  It is wonderful by itself with tea, and better in kadaif.   I used to stock up on it because I could only find it at Kalustyan's in the east 20s, but it has since made its appearance on the Upper West Side.  This is a good thing, because it does not last forever and is best used fresh.  As it sits, it tends to compress.  You can still separate it carefully by hand to make it fluffy again.


  1. I first had this dessert at Hummus Place, and I think it is wonderful stuff. Of course, I am interested in making more difficult rather than easier. Do you know how to shred one's own halva and and kadaif to make the components, or does one need to buy them pre-shredded?

  2. Unfortunately, you have to buy both. I first tried making the dessert with hand shredded filo, and it didn't come out as well, though no one seemed to complain. Kadaif (or kenafe) should be available in any Greek or Middle eastern market. On the UWS, it is most readily available at West Side Market (and is heckshered, if it matters). Same for the curly halva. You could try shredding some regular halva on a coarse grater, but the texture of the halva, which in hebrew I think is halva mesolselet, is truly unique. I think it is strictly Israeli, rather than more generally middle eastern. I used to buy it at Kalustyan's and stock up lots when they had it, but I have recently seen it in either Supersol or Kosher Marketplace on the UWS and will buy it to encourage them to keep it in stock.

    But don't slight the easy stuff. I just served it to guests last night and they loved it. My wife said she also might prefer the ice cream to the ricotta/yogurt mix.

    Good luck, and let me know how it turns out.