Kataifi Torte with Ricotta and Plums

Kataifi torte

I realize plums aren’t in season right now, but focus on what’s underneath: a crunchy shredded phyllo-wrapped ricotta cheesecake of sorts, which like other cheesecakes can be topped with just about anything, including whatever fruit you currently have in the freezer, simmered with a bit of sugar or honey and spooned overtop.

Kataifi torte 3

I wasn’t sure what to call this – it’s not really pie, nor cake; I settled on torte (as have others) because it’s a sort of blanket term for a dense cake, and it is baked in a pan and served in wedges. What makes it unique is the kataifi, finely shredded phyllo pastry you can find alongside the frozen phyllo at any Middle Eastern grocery, and even in some grocery stores. It’s lovely to work with.

Kataifi torte 2

The pastry, which comes in long, bundled strands you can cut with scissors to make it easier to handle, is tossed with melted butter and patted into a pie plate—an easy alternative to rolled pastry—then filled with honey-sweetened ricotta, topped with more kataifi and baked until golden and crisp, with the sweet, creamy cheese enclosed inside. After being inverted onto a plate, a drizzle of cinnamon and cardamom-infused syrup, poured while it’s still warm, gives the torte a baklava-like quality, although it’s not as sticky sweet.

Kataifi torte w ricotta + plums 1

It’s crunchy on the outside, creamy on the inside, like all the very best things. Sweetened fruit adds a tart contrast; any type of berry, or brilliant red and purple plums when they’re in season, can be chopped and simmered with sugar while the torte bakes. Or dribble it with caramel sauce, or serve it perfectly plain. It’s a brilliant recipe you can do anything with, and far more interesting than your usual cheesecake.

Kataifi Torte with Ricotta and Plums
Kataifi Torte with Ricotta and Plums

Kataifi Torte with Ricotta and Plums


February 16, 2018


1 pkg (about 340 g) kataifi (shredded phyllo dough), thawed

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 cup ricotta

1/4 cup honey (or to taste)

2 Tbsp cream

1 cup sugar

1 cinnamon stick

a few green cardamom pods (optional)

1 tsp vanilla


3 plums, pitted and chopped

1/4 cup sugar, or to taste

thick plain yogurt, crème fraîche or whipped cream (optional)


1Preheat the oven to 350?F.

2Pull apart the kataifi with your fingers, and cut with scissors so that it’s in roughly 2-inch pieces—just enough to make it easier to handle. Drizzle with the melted butter and toss to coat the phyllo well.

3Press a bit more than half of the mixture into a deep pie plate, baking dish or cake pan, and use your fingers or the bottom of a measuring cup to press it down into the bottom and up the sides. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Stir together the ricotta, honey and cream and spread it over the bottom. Top with the remaining kataifi, pressing loosely to make an even surface.

4Bake for 45-50 minutes, until deep golden. As the torte bakes, bring the sugar to a simmer with 1/2 cup water and the cinnamon stick and cardamom pods. Simmer for a minute, remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Set aside to cool. In a small saucepan or small skillet, cook the plums and sugar until the mixture is soft and saucy.

5When the torte comes out of the oven, pour the syrup evenly overtop while it’s still hot. (Remove the cinnamon and cardamom with a slotted spoon first.) Invert onto a plate and serve in wedges with the stewed plums and a dollop of yogurt, crème fraîche or whipped cream, if you like. Serves 8.


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12 comments on “Kataifi Torte with Ricotta and Plums

  1. carol s-b
    February 16, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    I have plums in the freezer…

    • Julie
      February 19, 2018 at 8:41 pm

      It’s a sign!

  2. Sue
    February 16, 2018 at 10:30 pm

    I’ve occasionally wondered what to do with kataifi – this looks lovely!

  3. Trudi Saby
    February 17, 2018 at 11:28 am

    This looks delicious… do you serve it warm out of the oven, or have it cold/ room temperature?

    • Julie
      February 19, 2018 at 8:41 pm

      Any of the above!

  4. Wendy
    February 18, 2018 at 10:53 am

    I think this would make a great Easter dinner dessert topped with stewed rhubarb.

    • Julie
      February 19, 2018 at 8:40 pm

      Oooh yes! Rhubarb would be fantastic!

  5. stefanopeggi
    February 25, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    Ingredients:14 ounces guava paste1 cup of water1 roll store-bought phyllo dough, thawed1/2 cup (1 stick), melted butter1 cup (approximately) queso fresco (or feta cheese or ricotta, as noted above) Directions:1.

    • Julie
      February 27, 2018 at 10:13 pm


  6. JaySaul
    February 27, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    thank you so much Heidi! I feel like January can be such a tough month!

  7. O.Bastien
    May 18, 2018 at 7:59 pm

    In Turkey they call this pastry “Kunefe”


  8. download now
    March 26, 2020 at 7:40 pm

    Thanks for sharing the information. It is very useful for my future. keep sharing

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