Kodafa Drenched in Honey

This Middle Eastern cheesecake seems not unlike the ancient Greek cheesecakes steeped in honey mentioned by poets. It is rather intense, but good if you are in the right mood. Usually it is made with kadif, the shredded-wheat-like pastry, but this version, adapted from Marlena Spieler's informative The Jewish Heritage Cookbook (London: Lorenz Books 2002), uses couscous, which is easier to get hold of. I have changed some of the quantities slightly from the original recipe, using less cheese and butter.

200 g couscous
400 ml boiling water
100 g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg, beaten
pinch of salt
250 g ricotta
150 g chopped mozzarella
350 ml clear honey
a pinch of saffron
120 ml water
1 tsp lemon juice
a handful of chopped pistachio nuts (optional)
½ tsp Salt
1oo g brown sugar
50 g toasted wheat bran
75 g raisins (or dried figs or apricots, chopped)
120 ml boiling water
75 g unsalted butter
60 ml honey
120 ml milk or buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 200 °C (gas mark 6). Line twelve muffin cups with muffin papers or grease them well. Stir the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and sugar to combine. Put the bran and raisins in another bowl and mix in the boiling water. Meanwhile, melt the butter and honey together. When this has cooled, stir in the milk and the beaten egg. Then stir in the flour mixture - as always with muffins, do not overmix. Mix in the bran and dried fruit. Divide the batter between the muffin cases and bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into one of the muffins comes out clean.

Enlighten Media