Cooking Recipes - Kunafeh (Arabic dessert/Palestinian Breakfast)

Kunafeh (Arabic dessert/Palestinian Breakfast)

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

All Day

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Event Description

ROSE SYRUP.  (probably only need a half batch of this -- can do day before, or while baking)
1 C sugar
1/2 C water
1 T rose water or orange blossom water (optional, plus or minus)
1 tsp or squeeze lemon juice


Combine 1 cup sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in lemon juice. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Be careful not to let the mixture turn golden and caramelize. Remove from heat and add rose water; set aside.

16 oz Kataifi Dough (shredded phyllo dough) [in the freezer section in many grocery stores] OR SEMOLINA FLOUR
8 oz melted butter (unsalted preferred)
~8oz / 1 C Mozzarella cheese, high moisture is preferred
15 oz Ricotta (optional)
1/4 C white sugar (optional)
½ cup crushed pistachios to garnish and/or dry rose petals for garnish optional

*Try: more mozzarella and reduce or skip the ricotta for more cheesy variation

400 degrees F (200 degrees C)
Bake for 30-50mins, untill golden brown
9x12 pan

For the Kunafa
Food processes the kataifi into small shreds, probably in 2-3 batches, coat with melted butter.^ Press half of this into the pan. 
Mix together ricotta, mozzarella, and sugar in a separate bowl. 
Spread on top of the first layer of shredded dough. Top with remaining kataifi. Sprinkle with ground pistachios. 

^Placebutter in a large, microwave-safe liquid measuring cup or bowl with a spout. Heat in a microwave until completely melted, and let it sit for several minutes until a thick white foam has formed on top. Clarify butter by using a spoon to skim off the foam.

^Carefully pour butter into the bowl ofphyllo dough. Avoid pouring in the white milk solids at the bottom of the clarified butter. Use your hands to mix butter and dough together. Make sure butter is absorbed by taking handfuls of the dough and rubbing it betweenyour palms.

This kanafa, or knafeh, recipe is a favorite Palestinian dessert. Crunchy shredded phyllo dough is baked with a layer of creamy sweet cheese and then drenched in rosewater syrup. It's simple yet impressive. The cheese filling is traditionally made from Nabulsi cheese that is desalted. The ricotta-mozzarella mix is a great substitute, and lower-fat products can be used. If you have access to a Middle Eastern grocery, you can probably find kanafa dye, which turns the dough into the orange or reddish color that is the signature of kanafa.

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