1 pound kataifi dough, defrosted and at room temperature
½ pound unsalted butter, melted
For the syrup:
3 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 cup Greek honey
For the pastry cream:
4 cups whole milk
8 tablespoons corn starch
1 and ½ cups sugar
¼ teaspoon of salt
8 large egg yolks, at room temperature
½ cup heavy whipping cream
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
For the whipped cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup (or less) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Garnish: sliced almonds, salted ground pistachios, or ground walnuts
To make the pastry cream:
In a saucepan, bring milk and salt to a simmer over medium heat.
In the meantime, combine the sugar, corn starch, cream and egg yolks in a large bowl and whisk together for a few minutes until thick and pale yellow.
Slowly, pour the hot milk in the egg mixture one ladle full at a time while whisking.
Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, whisking constantly until thickened.
Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla extract. Whisk well.
Strain the pastry cream into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
Refrigerate until cold.
To make the whipped cream:
Make sure your cream is super cold. Stick it in the freezer for ten minutes before using it. Do the same with your whisk attachment and your mixing bowl.
It's very important that your mixing bowl is either stainless steel, glass or ceramic. Freeze it if you can for at least 10 minutes. Do not use a wooden bowl.
Combine all of the ingredients in your mixing bowl. Begin mixing on a low speed so that you don't end up wearing the cream ;)
Increase the speed as it thickens and keep mixing until its nice and thick with the consistency of yogurt. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 177 degrees Celsius.
Take the kataifi dough out of its packaging. It should be at room temperature. Pull apart the strands as much as possible. Detangling as you go so that they are not clumped together. Place the detangled strands into a baking pan. You can bake this in a half sheet pan or a 9 by 13 inch baking pan.
Drizzle the melted butter evenly over the top and bake until golden. About 35-40 minutes.
While the kataifi is baking prepare the syrup.
Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Mix well so that the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the honey. Mix well and set aside to cool completely.
Pour the cooled syrup over the kataifi dough as soon as it comes out of the oven. The kataifi should be piping hot and the syrup should be cool.
Set aside for about 30-40 minutes so that the pastry can absorb the syrup. Dust a very generous amount of ground cinnamon over it. This can be done a few days before assembling. Once cooled, it stays fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
Take the prepared pastry cream out of the refrigerator and beat it until smooth. Sometimes pastry cream becomes thick and lumpy when refrigerated. Adding a couple tablespoons of whipped cream and whisking it smoothes it back out.
Layer the pastry cream evenly over the kataifi.
Fill a pastry bag with whipped cream and pipe 12 rosettes over the pastry cream. One per slice.
Garnish each rosette with sliced almonds and a dusting of ground cinnamon.