I have several favorite restaurants that I visit regularly close to where I live. One of them is a Middle Eastern restaurant located in an obscure street but the food there is a delight. For a long time, I’m a big fan of their amazing Kazandibi which I always order after a big serving of Izgara Kofte (Grilled Meat Balls). Kazandibi is a Turkish caramelized milk pudding dessert, a reminiscent of Crème Brûlée. It is so delicious and super addicting. The taste of burnt sugar added with the soft creamy texture of milk plus a hint of cinnamon is just so heavenly.
This Kazandibi recipe is inspired by that favorite Middle Eastern restaurant of mine, and though I will never be able to recreate their perfect Kazandibi dessert, at least I know that I can actually do it at home and hopefully master it as I keep practicing. For my Middle Eastern friends and readers, please be aware that this recipe is nowhere near as perfect as what you guys have at home. Mine is definitely a beginner’s attempt, so feel free to give me your recommendations and techniques.
There are different ways, measurements, and even ingredients on how to make Kazandibi. My recipe is somewhat tailored to my own personal preferences. Here’s how I made mine.
For the Pudding
4 & 1/2 cup Whole Milk (I use Lactaid because it’s Lactose-free)
1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup Cornstarch
1 cup Sugar
a pinch of Mastic (aromatic gum)
Bottom of Pan
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp fine sugar (optional)
Baking Pan or Nonstick Frying Pan
Mortar & Pestle
Heat milk in the saucepan using medium fire
Grind a bit of mastic gum. If you’re new to its taste, add only a little bit or omit it in your first few attempts of making this dessert.
Add the all-purpose flour, cornstarch, sugar, and mastic gum
Keep stirring the milk mixture until it starts to look and feel thick, but not too thick
Put the mixture aside
Coat the bottom of the baking pan using butter/melted butter
Add ground cinnamon and fine sugar
Heat the pan until it turns brown and somewhat burned (observe and watch it carefully for safety reasons)
Pour the milk mixture and make sure to heat it evenly until it starts to boil, but don’t let it boil too much
Turn off the stove, and cool down the mixture
Cover the mixture with a clear wrap and put it in the refrigerator for 6 hours
After 6 hours, slice the mixture and serve upside down or rolled, displaying the burned part. Add more cinnamon according to your preferences.
Kazandibi is one of the most delicious desserts I have ever tried. Once you’ve tasted it, you will never forget it. Have you tried this dessert before?
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