I’ve got a sweet tooth (as the bulk of my posts attest) but I know that achingly sweet desserts are not to everyone’s tastes. Some people look for something to cut the sweetness, such as citrus flavours or creme’ fraiche. How about a bit of mozzarella cheese?
When visiting Turkey, I stopped in Antakya (Antioch) which has a regional dessert specialty known as Kunefe. This local delicacy comprises a base of stringy Kadayif (Kadaif) pastry, topped with the cheese, pistachios, another layer of pastry and then drizzled in sugar syrup. The dish is crisp on top and served warm with ice cream or cream.
OK, it’s not really mozzarella. It’s Kunefe Peyniri, a special cheese with elastic qualities that mimic the stringy Kadayif pastry. It’s a little disconcerting knowing that there is cheese in the dessert but, it’s just a rather bland, chewy filling in between all the nuts and pastry. Having said that, there were not many people in our group that finished their Kunefe. They just couldn’t get past the idea of warm cheese and syrup.
But the Turks, they’re mad for it! In one small square in the town, there were at last half a dozen Kunefe Salons, all only selling Kunefe. We also saw Kunefe being advertised throughout Turkey as an exotic regional specialty. It’s a novelty item for others outside the town it would seem. So, if you see Kunefe on the menu at a local Turkish restaurant (and that’s a big ‘if’), be brave and give it a try.