October 18, 2020 6:30:29 AM
“I once found shredded filo pastry in the frozen section of an Asian grocery store, so I bought it thinking I would use it at some point. The eureka moment came a few weeks later,” recalls former Bake Off contestant, Helena Garcia.
“The pastry is called ‘kataifi’ and it’s used in Greek and Turkish cuisines. It is available online too, and you can get very creative with it. Cousin Itt’s hat is made from black fondant icing and his glasses are made from gingerbread dough for the frames and boiled sweets for the glass,” she adds of this spooky recipe.
200g shelled pistachios, chopped
1tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
450g kataifi dough, thawed
4tbsp butter or vegan spread, melted
For the syrup:
450g granulated sugar
Peel of 1/2 clementine
1 cinnamon stick
Small amount of shortbread or gingerbread dough
Boiled sweets, crushed
Black fondant icing
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C fan [375°F/Gas mark 5] and line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. Pulse the pistachios, cinnamon and cloves in a food processor a few times to combine all the ingredients and chop the nuts. Do not over-process.
3. Make sure the kataifi dough is completely thawed out before you start. Unroll it and, using a sharp knife, divide it into four 25cm portions.
4. Take one portion and pull the strands apart to make them fluffy, then brush a little melted butter onto one half of the portion. Spoon one-quarter of the pistachio mixture on the bottom portion and fold the other half over. Shape with your hands to get a rough cone-like structure.
5. Repeat the process with the rest of the pastry, then place all four Cousin Itts on the prepared baking tray. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the pastry is crispy.
6. For the syrup, heat the water, sugar, clementine peel and cinnamon stick together in a saucepan over a medium heat. Once the sugar dissolves, simmer for three to four minutes.
7. As soon as the pastries are ready, remove them from the oven and ladle the syrup over the top of each one. Cut out the glasses from the gingerbread dough, using a small (around 2.5cm) round cutter if you have it, and a slightly smaller one to take out an inner circle. Alternatively, you can cut out the shape of the glasses carefully, by hand, using a small, sharp knife. Make four sets of glasses frames. Place the glasses frames on a lined baking tray, then fill the inner circle with crushed boiled sweets and bake in the oven for seven minutes or until the sweets melt to form ‘glass’.
8. Mould four bowler hats by hand using black fondant icing.
9. To attach the glasses, melt some more of the crushed boiled sweets in the oven and use them as glue, but do not touch the molten sweets with your bare skin!
The Wicked Baker: Cakes And Treats To Die For by Helena Garcia, Photography by Patricia Niven, is published by Quadrille, priced £12.99. Available now.