Greek Bird’s Nest Cupcake Toppers: Not for Easter

Greek Bird’s Nest Cupcake Toppers: Not for Easter


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I admit – I made these Greek bird’s nest cupcake toppers because I thought they would be good for Easter. I don’t celebrate Easter and clearly I have no clue what is good for Easter. I thought that because it was a nest, it would be Spring-like and perfect for a post about an Easter recipe.

Only after several people said something to me did it become apparent that I would have needed to use little pastel-colored eggs in the nests to be Easter-appropriate. Oh well! I finally caved in and decided to leave the Easter recipes for someone who celebrates Easter (at least this year!).

So now, I bring you my non-Easter Greek Bird’s Nest Cupcake Toppers during Passover week (when I can’t eat them, but I sure can think about them). Also, be sure to check out the Greek Bird’s Nest Cupcakes that they go on.

Kataifi – The Key Ingredient

The easy way to make Greek bird’s nests is to buy some kataifi. Kataifi is essentially shredded phyllo dough. You can buy it in the frozen section of an international supermarket or at a Greek deli. I imagine you could make kataifi from scratch, but I wasn’t about to give that one a go.

The Greek Bird’s Nest Recipe

I modified a recipe from about.com for kataifi to create my Greek Bird’s Nest recipe:

  • 1 lb of kataifi dough, defrosted per package instructions
  • 1 C (2 sticks) of butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 1 C walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 C almonds, coarsely ground
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t ground cloves
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1 t brandy

Making the bird’s nests is a bit of an art form. It would be a really fun job for a kid. First, you mix all the filling ingredients and stir them. Then, you grab some kataifi dough and form it into a bird’s nest shape. Slather the bird’s nest with butter (this will help it to stick together). Then, plop some of the nut mixture on top.

I made 12 of them. However, the recipe could have made a few more than that. I just got lazy. Too bad I didn’t have a kid around to make some for me.

Place the bird’s nests into a glass baking dish and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.

The Syrup

What makes bird’s nests yummy is that they are soaked in a honey syrup. If you are not using these as cupcake toppers, make syrup using the recipe at about.com and pour it over the bird’s nests while they are still hot. Wait 3-4 hours for the syrup to absorb into the bird’s nests before digging in. .

For my cupcakes, I made a different syrup that I used on both the cupcake and the bird’s nest and poured it over both items at once. I’ll write about that process and the syrup recipe in my upcoming cupcake post.

What To Do With the Extra Nut Mixture

When I made the bird’s nests, I was left with a lot of extra nuts and a little extra syrup. I covered the nut mixture with the syrup, wrapped it aluminum foil and toasted it in our toaster oven twice. It was a great snack for a couple of days!

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13 comments on “Greek Bird’s Nest Cupcake Toppers: Not for Easter”

  1. Marija says:

    My grandma used to make a dough just like for pasta and cut if thin by hand. She used it to top baklava and called it kadaif.
    Such a good idea to transform it into a cupcake!

  2. That is so cool. I need to find a Greek market!

  3. Hillary says:

    Ooh cool. I love Greek desserts. I think this is the same stuff they use in kinafa.

  4. Stef says:

    Marja – Wow… homemade and topping baklava! Baklava is so good even without a topping! That must have been amazing!

    Steamy – Yeah, I had no idea pre-shredded dough even existed until I found a recipe using it.

    Hillary – I love how Greek desserts all use one of my fav foods – honey!

  5. Nancy says:

    Jelly beans would make good Easter eggs. These sound yummy. At this point in Passover, anything with no matzah products involved sounds good.

  6. Cakespy says:

    Beautiful! I love the greek dessert aspect! I worked in a middle eastern restaurant during college and the flavors of the desserts really hooked me. This looks like a combination of all the things I love!

  7. Not so sure I would want to eat this. It looks too real. Haha.

  8. Cindy. Lo. says:

    You tricked me!
    I really thought these were pasta!

  9. Stef says:

    Nancy – Good point re Passover! I just went over to someones house who is a sephardic Jew. I had rice for the first time over the holiday. Even that was a nice treat! Oh – and yes, jelly beans would work well!

    Cakespy – Neat! I love those Greek desserts!

    LittleIvy – Hah! If only I was an artist like Bakerella or something I could have made a little bird in the nest.

    Cindy – It would have been a fun April Fool’s post!

  10. Anonymous says:

    I think this would be perfect for Easter. Don’t let people’s commercialism get you down!

  11. Alicia says:

    I know this is a really old post but where are you located?? My SO is Turkish and we call ‘stringy’ dough Kadayif.. we usually use it to make Kunefe with a sugar syrup topping and walnuts throughout. Anyway we are in Albany, NY right now and I cannot find any anywhere nearby. Can you recommend places I can try and what sections of a store you may find it in?

  12. Stef says:

    Alicia – Sorry. I wish I knew. I’m in St. Louis. I’d suggest looking an in international market if you have one. You may also be able to buy it online.

  13. Anonymous says:

    In Greece, Easter colors are bright red, yellow and blue. I think your cupcakes look very springy. Who decided Easter had to be pastel anyway?

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