Dandeegeen Diaries—Chapter 17: Cream Khadaif

The end of August and beginning of September are full of family birthday celebrations in the Krafian household. We generally order the yearly birthday cake to celebrate the passing of another year and our children growing older and wiser. We have had a good share of cakes to overcompensate for those under-celebrated occasions that fell during the pandemic this year: graduations, anniversaries, showers and birthdays. In order to add something special to the end-of-the-summer festivities, my daughter Anoush and I thought it would be fun to make Cream Khadaif together for her birthday next week, a family favorite, if not everyone’s favorite. Who doesn’t like cream, shredded phyllo and butter with sugar water. I have made it many times for the church and school bazaars in years past and many bake sales for St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School’s Armenian Christmas and Armenia trip fundraisers. Again, I was making it for mass consumption rather than for a family. Thankfully, Alice Tutunjian’s recipe in the St. Stephen’s Ladies Guild cookbook was for a regular 8 x 10 baking pan. Though I learned from Alice in the church kitchen many times, I was on my own now with a small pan rather than the large church trays. Anoush and I read the recipe before doing anything. We shared in the phyllo preparation by shredding and pouring the butter all over. We prepared the filling together, stirring carefully not to let the cream burn and together spread the cream over the phyllo evenly for a perfect distribution for every piece. Honestly, it was way easier than we both thought and far faster than we had planned. Given the ease with how quickly this went, we made two smaller trays in foil pans to freeze and send to friends and family in the future. This would make great Thanksgiving and Christmas gifts for the holidays. I think we are on to something. I highly recommend making Khadaif with your children; it was fun and easy. Below are the ingredients and recipe. Enjoy.

Cream Khadaif by Alice Tutunjian

Phyllo Dough:
1lb. shredded khadaif dough
½ lb. unsalted butter, melted

Separate and shred phyllo dough in a large bowl. Gradually drizzle melted butter evenly on the phyllo while mixing until all shredded phyllo is coated.

1/3 c. cornstarch
¼ c. sugar
½ c. milk
1 ¼ c. heavy cream
1 ¼ c. light cream
1 tsp. vanilla

With a wire whisk, mix together the cornstarch, sugar and milk until smooth and set aside.

In a three-quart saucepan, bring two creams to a full boil. The cream should rise up in the pan. Stir the cornstarch mixture. It will thicken immediately. Cook for two minutes (lower heat). Remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon vanilla. In a 8 x 10 baking pan, put half of the buttery shredded phyllo on the bottom of the pan. Cover with the hot cream filling and add remaining shredded phyllo on top. Use spatula to even the edges. Bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes or until lightly browned.

1 ½ c. sugar
¾ c. water
1 tsp. lemon juice

Meanwhile, mix syrup ingredients and boil for 5 minutes. Remove Khadaif from the oven and pour half of the hot syrup on the hot Khadaif, cut into 12 squares and pour remaining syrup on the cut edges. Cover with foil for 15 minutes. Serve warm. Serves 12.

Heather Krafian

Heather Krafian

Heather Apigian Krafian was born in Detroit, Michigan and was one of the founding students of A.G.B.U. Alex Manoogian School in 1969. She graduated Michigan State University in 1988 with a bachelor’s in International Relations and cognate studies in German and Russian. She holds a master’s in Early Childhood Education from Lesley University. As an ANCA intern, Heather worked for the Minority Rights Group in London under Ben Whittaker. She’s also worked at Zoryan Institute as its Armenian Studies Coordinator. She began her career in education in 1990 after which she became the assistant principal of St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School from 2006 to 2008; she currently serves on its Education Committee. She has also served on the Board of Trustees at St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church. Heather is a member of the ARS Cambridge “Shushi” Chapter and a member of the ARS Eastern Region Board of Directors. Heather was the 2010 recipient of the Knights of Vartan “Community Leader” Award and the 2015 recipient of the Eastern Prelacy’s Certificate of Merit. She is married to Ara Krafian; they live in Belmont, MA with their four daughters Araxi, Nairi, Anoush and Knar.


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