This layered dessert is just dreamy – a Kataifi pastry base soaked in syrup, a custard filling and fresh whipped cream topping. Pasta is the Pensacola version of this dessert – which is also called Ekmek Kataifi by the Turks.

For the pastry base
½ cup melted butter
1 pound Kataifi pastry (shredded filo)

For the syrup
2 cups sugar
1 ½ cups water
Juice of ½ lemon

For the custard filling
½ cup flour
½ cup sugar
3 cups milk
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
¾ lb cream, whipped
Toasted almonds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a large rectangular baking pan (at least 9” x 13”) that is deep enough to accommodate the layers of this dessert. To make the base, separate the strands and layer them in the pan. Don’t press down as they are better if left light and fluffy. Brush the remaining butter over the pastry and bake in a moderate oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool.

Begin making the syrup by boiling the water and sugar for five minutes. Remove from heat and add the lemon. Pour the hot syrup over the toasted pastry.

Prepare the cream filling next. Mix flour and ½ cup sugar in the top of a double boiler. Stir in milk. Stir constantly until thick and smooth. Stir a little of the hot mixture into slightly beaten egg yolks. Then slowly stir the eggs into the hot mixture. Cook over hot water for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly until custard thickens. Remove from heat and then add the vanilla. Pour the custard over the kataifi pastry base. Chill for 2 – 3 hours. Cover with whipped cream and garnish with toasted almond slivers or other topping. Cut into squares. Makes 22 pieces. Can be frozen.