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4.5 from 2 votes

Greek Ekmek Kataifi

When making Greek ekmek kataifi, the kataifi phyllo dough is drizzled with high-quality butter and baked until golden and crispy. Then, it is bathed with a hot simple syrup, spiced with lemon rind and cinnamon. Then, it is topped with a custard (crème patisserie) which is infused with lemon rind and mastiha. Then, the dessert is topped with whipped cream and garnished with ground cinnamon and optionally chopped almonds or pistachio.
It has a light texture and refreshing taste, despite the richness of the individual layers. The lemon rind, cinnamon, and mastiha that alternate between the different layers, give a unique flavor profile and bring it all together.  
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Greek Recipes, Mediterranean Recipes
Keyword: Ekmek, Greek Dessert,, Greek Traditional Dessert, Kataifi, Phyllo
Servings: 15
Calories: 369kcal


For the Custard

  • 6 cups Whole Milk
  • 6 Egg Yolks
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tbsp Corn Starch
  • 3 tbsp All Purpose Flour
  • The rind of 1 Lemon
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 pinches Mastiha Ground

For the Syrup

For the Kataifi Base

For the Whipped Cream

  • 16 fl oz Heavy Whipping Cream very cold
  • 2 tbsp Confectioner's Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract


  • Ground Cinnamon
  • 3 oz Unsalted Pistachios or Toasted Almonds chopped


  • Preheat the oven to 350oF.


  • In a medium sized pot, add the milk, lemon peel and vanilla extract. Heat the mixture over medium heat.
  •  Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl add the egg yolks and sugar, and using a hand-held mixer, beat until the mixture gets fluffy and has a light color. 
  • Add the corn starch and flour and beat for half more minute to incorporate them into the egg yolk mixture. The mixture will be thick and a bit difficult to work; this is ok.
  • Once the milk mixture looks that it is about to boil, start pouring slowly (threadlike) into the egg mixture using a ladle, while you constantly beat the egg mixture (The egg mixture gets tempered and you do not end up with scrambled eggs…)
  • Continue until you have added all of the milk into the eggs. Transfer the egg mixture back to the pot. 
  • Cook over medium-low heat stirring constantly (preferably using a whisk) until it becomes thick and creamy. At some point, bubbles will start form on the surface of the cream. Continue for another minute or two and remove from the heat.
  • Pour the custard in a baking dish and cover with plastic wrap, making sure the wrap touches the surface of the custard so that it does not form a crust as it cools down. Let the custard cool until it reaches room temperature (alternatively, you can refrigerate for a couple of hours). 


  • In a medium saucepan, add the sugar, water, cinnamon stick, and lemon peel.
  • Bring to boil over medium heat. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and let boil for 7-8 minutes. 
  • Remove from heat, discard the lemon peel and the cinnamon, and set aside.


  • Unroll the kataifi pastry. Separate the shredded phyllo dough with your hands, making sure there are no knots and it fluffs up.
  • Grease a 9x13 inch pan with butter and spread the kataifi pastry to form the base for the custard. Drizzle with the melted butter.
  •  Bake for 30 – 40 minutes (depending on your oven), rotating the pan halfway through until it gets a nice golden color.
  • Remove from the oven and pour the syrup on top of the pastry using a ladle.
  • Set aside to allow the pastry to soak up the syrup and cool down and reach room temperature.

Whipped Cream

  • In a mixing bowl (or the bowl of an electric mixer), add the heavy cream and the vanilla extract.
  • Beat the cream on high speed.
  • Once soft picks start to for on the surface, reduce the speed to medium and add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time.
  • Keep beating until a thick cream is formed.


  • Once the kataifi pastry and the custard have reached room temperature, add the custard on top of the kataifi. Using a spatula, spread the custard evenly over the kataifi.
  • Put the whipped cream in a piping bag. Alternatively, you can use a food storage bag and cut a corner of the bag.
  • Pipe the whipped cream on top of the custard, covering the surface to the pan. Using a spatula, spread it out evenly.
  • Dust the ekmek kataifi with cinnamon, and sprinkle with the nuts (if using).
  • Cover the ekmek kataifi with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.


The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.


Serving: 1piece | Calories: 369kcal | Carbohydrates: 55.8g | Protein: 15.9g | Fat: 59.9g | Saturated Fat: 36.5g | Trans Fat: 1.6g | Cholesterol: 266.3mg | Sodium: 155.8mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 51g | Vitamin A: 2150IU | Vitamin C: 18.2mg | Iron: 0.2mg