Greek Vanilla Pudding Pie (Ekmek Kataifi)

ekmeh kataifi

I can’t believe it’s December already.  I don’t know about you, but I am behind on Christmas shopping, and very thankful to be able to do most of it from home.  I can’t remember what it was like to go out and buy everything.  It must have been exhausting.  I love this time of year, but it can really sneak up on you.  I haven’t started thinking about food either, however, one of the desserts I know will be on our holiday table is Ekmek Kataifi.  It is a Greek vanilla pudding pie topped with whipped cream sitting atop a bed of syrup soaked pecans and shredded phyllo (or filo) dough.  It is like combining a pudding pie with baklava. It is out of this world! My mom has been making this as long as I can remember, and she passed the torch to me last year.  I love this dessert so much, I just had to re-share it this year.  This is truly an amazing and unique dessert, and I hope you make it part of your holidays too.

Greek Vanilla Pudding Pie (Ekmek Kataifi)

16 to 20


  • 1/2 cup real unsalted butter plus 1 Tbsp. for greasing pan
  • 1/3 of a 1 lb. pack kataifi (shredded phyllo dough)
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3 3 oz. boxes of cook and serve vanilla pudding
  • 5 1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • cinnamon stick (6 in. long)
  • slice of lemon peel (1 1/2 inch wide at middle)
    Whipped Cream
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
    Special Instructions
  • Make this dessert at least 1 day ahead, but put the whipped cream on it the day of.
  • Remove the kataifi from the freezer and place in the fridge at least 8 hours before making the dessert. I usually take mine out the night before. Kataifi can be found in specialty stores and most Greek and middle eastern stores. It can also be found online.
  • Remove the kataifi from the fridge, but keep packaged.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Melt 1/2 cup butter and set aside to cool. Melt the remaining butter and grease a 9x13 inch pan, with deep sides (I use glass). Crush the pecans into small uniform pieces (I find crushing them with a meat tenderizer in a food storage bag works well).
  • Remove 1/3 of the kataifi from the package and pull apart the individual strands. Press the kataifi in the greased pan and evenly cover the bottom of the pan. Evenly drizzle the melted butter all over the kataifi. Gently press to ensure all areas are covered. Evenly sprinkle the cinnamon all over the kataifi, followed by the crushed pecans. Place in the oven for 35 minutes until golden brown.
  • While the kataifi is baking, make the syrup. Place the sugar and water in a pan over medium heat (I use stainless steel). Once the sugar is dissolved, add the cinnamon stick and lemon peel and bring to a boil. Let boil for 5 minutes watching constantly and stirring as needed. Reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes to reduce and thicken the syrup. Stir as needed. Remove the lemon and cinnamon stick and keep warm.
  • Once the kataifi is done, remove from the oven and evenly drizzle about 3/4 of the warm syrup* all over. Let the crust cool and make the pudding.
  • Make the pudding according to pie directions, but as noted, use less milk. Once the pudding is ready, pour over the kataifi. Let cool slightly and then place in the fridge, covering well. This dessert is best if you let it sit overnight, but 4 hours will be enough for it to set.
  • Make the whipped cream and add once it has set. If you're letting the dessert sit in the fridge overnight, add the whipped cream a few hours before eating.
  • * Syrup Note: When I first made this dessert, I used the entire amount of syrup, and although it was delicious, I found the crust to be a bit too syrupy. I have started using the extra syrup to drizzle on the plates or over the dessert when serving for an extra touch. Just let the remainder of the syrup cool and store in the fridge until ready to use. You can also use it for pancakes, toast, biscuits, etc.
  • Whipped Cream
  • Add cold cream and vanilla to a mixer with a wire whip attachment and set to high. Don't forget to cover it up.
  • Once it begins to slightly thicken, steadily add the sugar (I like to stop and scrape the bowl once the sugar is incorporated).
  • Stop and check the whipped cream once you see it begin to thicken. The whipped cream is ready when it will hold its form (note: you may have to check it several times the first time you make it). Be careful not to over mix or it will separate.
  • Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 days or add directly to the dessert. Enjoy!
  • Notes

    #1 The syrup can be made 2-3 days before using. Once the syrup is ready, remove the cinnamon and lemon peel and let cool. Place in a sealed container in the fridge. Warm up the syrup when it is time to add it to the kataifi.

    #2 Make the whipped cream up to 2 days before you plan to add it to the dessert. Just place in the fridge in a sealed container. Give it a quick whisk and spread it evenly over the pudding.

    #3 For best results, make the dessert at least one day ahead and then add the whipped cream the day of.

    I am excited to take this delicious Greek specialty to Fiesta Friday #149!  Your amazing hosts this week are Judi @ cookingwithauntjuju and Sandhya @ Indfused.

    Yay!  This recipe was featured on Fiesta Friday!


    54 Responses to“Greek Vanilla Pudding Pie (Ekmek Kataifi)”

    1. 12/08/2016 at 8:59 am #

      looks delicious

        12/08/2016 at 9:53 am #

        Aww, thanks dad! Love you!

    2. 12/08/2016 at 11:17 am #

      I’ve never tried this but it looks and sounds delicious! Love your presentation!

        12/08/2016 at 11:33 am #

        It is really amazing Deborah! Thank you 😀 Have a wonderful day!

        • 12/08/2016 at 11:44 am #

          MP! Hope you have a wonderful day as well!

          12/08/2016 at 12:10 pm #

          Thank you 😀

    3. 12/08/2016 at 11:49 am #

      So delicious– two of my favorite treats– pecans and whipped cream in one recipe! Hope you are getting everything done for Christmas– I’m working through my list here!! take care…

        12/08/2016 at 12:13 pm #

        Me too 😀 Thank you so much Rhonda! I’m getting there slowly 😉 There is always so much to do! Good luck with your list! Merry Christmas 😀

        • 12/11/2016 at 4:48 pm #

          I know Antonia, this can be the craziest time of year, but also the sweetest when our kids come home. Christmas hugs from here!!

          12/12/2016 at 6:12 pm #

          Thank you! Christmas hugs to you too 😀

    4. 12/08/2016 at 2:30 pm #

      Love layered desserts like this one. Looks great! 🙂

        12/09/2016 at 11:29 am #

        Me too, with lots of whipped cream 😀 Thanks Ronit, and have a wonderful weekend!

    5. 12/08/2016 at 8:45 pm #

      That sounds heavenly, Antonia, and wonderfully sweet. Thanks for the recipe. Certainly something for a special day 🙂

        12/09/2016 at 11:31 am #

        Thank you so much Diana! You are so kind 😀 Have a lovely weekend!

    6. 12/08/2016 at 8:46 pm #

      Looks divine!

        12/09/2016 at 11:31 am #

        Thanks Freda! Have a great weekend!

    7. 12/09/2016 at 3:10 pm #

      Delicious looking pudding Antonia – I just happen to have some of that kataifi in my freezer. Looks like your recipe would be a great way to use it. Thanks for sharing with Fiesta Friday!

        12/09/2016 at 8:52 pm #

        Thanks Judi! Awesome, I hope you get a chance to try it 😀 Thanks for co-hosting and Happy Fiesta Friday! Have a wonderful weekend!

    8. 12/09/2016 at 5:11 pm #

      This looks delicious! It’s truly unique for me. I’m not sure where to find the kataifi though.

        12/09/2016 at 8:59 pm #

        Thanks Julie! You can find kataifi filo in Greek or Middle Eastern stores, or you can find it online. I usually buy several at a time and store in my freezer. It keeps for a very long time. Have a wonderful weekend!

    9. 12/09/2016 at 7:27 pm #

      so delish! Vanilla is an excellent flavour.

        12/09/2016 at 8:59 pm #

        Thank you! I agree…I love vanilla! Have a fantastic weekend 😀

    10. 12/10/2016 at 3:48 am #

      Yummy ! What a wonderful pudding Antonia !

        12/11/2016 at 8:26 am #

        Thank you Swapna! Have a wonderful weekend!

    11. 12/10/2016 at 7:56 am #

      Looks lovely

        12/11/2016 at 8:27 am #

        Thank you Lynn, and have a fantastic weekend!

    12. Sandhya
      12/10/2016 at 9:57 am #

      You had me at kataifi! This dessert is simply awesome! What a great share! Happy Fiesta Friday my friend!

        12/11/2016 at 8:31 am #

        Kataifi is wonderful, isn’t it? Thank you so much Sandhya! Happy Fiesta Friday and thank you for hosting! Have an awesome weekend my friend 😀

        • Sandhya
          12/11/2016 at 9:22 pm #

          Thanks Antonia!

          12/12/2016 at 6:18 pm #


    13. Liz
      12/10/2016 at 11:39 am #

      Oh boy that looks delicious!

        12/11/2016 at 8:32 am #

        Thank you Liz! Have a wonderful weekend!

    14. 12/10/2016 at 8:49 pm #

      This looks absolutely amazing! I wish I could get the ingredients here, but maybe when I’m back in the twin cities! I am pinning for later. I bet the texture and contrast between the bottom and the pudding top is wonderful!

        12/11/2016 at 8:34 am #

        Aww, thank you Mollie! If you have a middle eastern store near you, they may carry it. I hope you get a chance to try it out. Have a lovely and happy weekend 😀

    15. 12/11/2016 at 5:32 pm #

      This looks so good!! I have to find kataifi and try this out. Thanks for sharing Antonia.

        12/12/2016 at 6:15 pm #

        Thank you so much Zeba! You can usually find it in middle eastern or Greek stores. I hope you get a chance to try it 😀 Have a lovely week!

    16. 12/11/2016 at 7:11 pm #


        12/12/2016 at 6:17 pm #

        I know. It’s amazing, isn’t it? My mom has been making it as long as I can remember. Have a fantastic week Krystina 😀

        • 12/18/2016 at 4:18 pm #

          Yes!! You too, happy Sunday! 🙂

          12/29/2016 at 10:41 am #

          Thank you Krystina! I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas!

        • 12/29/2016 at 8:00 pm #

          Thank you sweetheart!! 🙂

          01/06/2017 at 9:57 am #


        • 01/10/2017 at 8:36 pm #


    17. 12/13/2016 at 8:56 pm #

      Looks delicious!!! 🙂

        12/14/2016 at 8:03 am #

        Thanks Linda! Have a wonderful day!

    18. 12/16/2016 at 8:45 am #

      Looks amazing. Not sure I am going to find shredded kataifi in rural France though.

        12/16/2016 at 8:50 am #

        Thanks Nadia! It might be difficult, unless you can find it online. Have a wonderful weekend!

    19. 12/24/2016 at 9:39 am #

      Looks mighty delicious.

        12/29/2016 at 10:42 am #

        Thanks Dad!!!

    20. 12/26/2016 at 4:50 pm #

      This dessert looks Amazing & that is why I made it!
      Super delicious! 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻🎄🎄🎄

        12/29/2016 at 10:42 am #

        Thank you Sophie! That’s awesome, I am so glad that you enjoyed it! You made my day 😀


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