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Suvir Saran


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Yesterday. browsing in a remainders bookstore on Carmine Street, I found a cookbook called The Armenian Table. Voila! A recipe for kaymak! Mystery solved. You start with cream, not milk. You bring a quart of cream to a simmer. Every so often, you scoop some of the cream into a ladle and pour it back into the pot from a height of about 12 inches, making sure that the skim is stirred back into the liquid. You keep going for about 45 minutes, until the cream is reduced by half. Then you transfer it to a flattish container. After a night in the fridge, you've got kaymak. It's served by cutting it into a square or triangle to be placed on or alongside pastry.

Clearly, this artery-clogging delight is like eating the equivalent amount of butter, but I'm going to have to try it anyway, just to see if it works.

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I just read through this whole thread, and was amazed after you mentioned the bread with kaymak right at the beginning, and also discussed rabri, that no-one mentioned the Indian dessert called either double ka mitha or shah-e-tukri, which is essentially fried toast with rabri.

Incidentally, the two names are quite different, but refer to the same thing. Shah-e-tukri is a Persianized name, (shah - royal, tukri - pieces of bread. e functions here to give shah an adjectival meaning). Double ka mitha is the Hindi name (double refers to 'double roti' meaning Western-style yeast-raised white bread, mitha is a sweet or a sweetmeat, ka shows ownership, so is again serving a type of adjectivizing function).

For it, fry pieces of stale white Western bread in ghee until golden. Set aside to cool and crisp up.

There are two variations on this. One is quite liquid rabri, the other is very thick, almost khoya in consistency. In both cases, sweeten to taste, and add kewra if you want.

For the thick khoya, simply spread on the fried toast and eat.

For the thinner version (the one I prefer), break the toast into smaller pieces - cubes of about an inch on either side - and immerse in the rabri. Eat in about fifteen minutes to half an hour of doing this. Ideally, you have a combination between some of the toast remaining crisp, and some of it having absorbed the liquid.

Some people argue that this is best warm or at room temperature. I think it is best chilled, eaten on a hot day, and while swooning for more...

White bread fried in ghee, sugar, milk reduced until unbearably rich - how can it be anything but exquisite. :biggrin:

I think this is the Indian version of a dessert found throughout Turkey and many areas which are influenced by Turkish cuisine. (I've also seen it referred to as a Syrian/Lebanese dish) It's called Ekmek kataif (this last will be spelt in various different ways, such as kadayif, etc.) in Turkish, and Aish el-sarai in Arabic (again, there are lots of different spellings for this in English, such as Eish es-seray, etc.). I've come across Egyptian, Serbian, Cypriot and Syrian versions for it. Essentially, it's bread that you've dried out (dry it out in the oven, again there are variations: some versions use rusks, some areas have a special bread sold for making this dessert). You make a syrup with honey, lemon juice, and rosewater (again, there are variations, the Serbian one I saw used cloves, for example). If you want, caramelize a little of the syrup to darken the appeance of the whole. Pour over the bread and cook the whole lot together until the bread has absorbed all the syrup. Turn into a serving dish and allow to cool. Serve spread with kaymak.

There are also fruit and walnut based Turkish variations of this (though these have also spread further afield than Turkey) . A link for the one with cherries here

It shoud really be emphasized that you let it get completely cold before eating. Put it in the refrigerator. Again, serve with kaymak, not the whipped cream mentioned in the link!

Other seasonal fruits can also be used instead, such as apricots or quince. I am keen enough on these desserts to have borrowed a cookbook in Turkish from the local library, together with a Turkish dictionary and an introduction to Turkish grammar, simply to plough my way laboriously through these bread sweets!

A cheating way to do it, if one is really in a rush and wants a fix of it, is to use good quality fruit preserves/jellies instead of cooking up the fruit itself. I use Baktat, which is a Turkish brand, and has big chunks of fruit in many of their products (cherry, quince, mulberry, etc. The only one I didn't like is their small whole figs, which taste somehow odd to me). If Turkish preserves are not readily available to you, the Greek ones are very similar. Thin out the preserves with water, heat, and pour over the dried out bread.

I'm just looking at the length of this post. Clearly I tend to get carried away when something dear to me is mentioned!

Do report back on how it went with your kaymak making. And if you made the ekmek kataif, how that went too.

Edited by anzu (log)

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Interesting thread.

Here is a purist method.

To the best of my recollection, Kaymak in original unaldurated form does not have the benefit of heat and hence no boiling or simmering.

We are simply talking about fresh milk which is still warm from the milking of cows and is transposed continuously from one shallow container to the other while still warm and then skimming the milk skin that is being formed in each transposing action into a separate container covered with a cotton cloth to allow draining of any excess liquid and you end up with thick creamy/yellow Kaymak which goes to 3 or 4 inches thick.

In today's health and safety world, such method cannot fit in any regulation and would have the food inspectors blow a fuse or two.

I must admit that it has been few moons since I had this delicacy which we use to eat either with Honey or Katayef (fried) or Mamounieh...etc.

The heating element is a rather newer development to duplicate a rather antiquated method. The new method or the easier method would be to have the milk skin lifted from simmering milk but I have my doubts whether this can be duplicated with cream for obvious reasons.

So should you be near a farm or have few cows in your backgarden ready for milking, you could make Kaymak the good old fashioned way. Failing to do that, simply bring full fat milk to a simmer and skim the skin and re-bring to a simmer and continue doing so in a loop untill you get the quantity you want.

Caution: Kaymak is most definetly not part of a healthy diet and all responsibility will be denied for addiction to and addiction from the preparation and enjoyment of Kaymak.


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