Kunafe, also known as Knafeh or Kunafa, is a popular Middle Eastern dessert that is enjoyed throughout the region and beyond. It is a sweet, cheese-filled pastry that is made from layers of shredded phyllo dough and a soft, white cheese such as Akkawi or Nabulsi. The pastry is then soaked in a sweet syrup made from sugar, water, and rose water or orange blossom water, giving it a sweet and floral flavor.Kunafe has its roots in Palestine, where it is said to have originated in the city of Nablus. It quickly spread throughout the Middle East and is now enjoyed in many countries, including Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, and Jordan. Each country has its own variation of the dessert, with different types of cheese, syrups, and toppings.Making Kunafe is a labor-intensive process that requires skill and patience. The phyllo dough is shredded by hand and layered in a large round pan. The cheese is then added on top and another layer of shredded phyllo dough is placed on top to cover the cheese. The pastry is then baked until it is golden brown and crispy.Once the pastry is baked, it is soaked in the sweet syrup, which is absorbed by the phyllo dough and cheese, giving it a moist and juicy texture. It is then topped with chopped pistachios or other nuts, adding a crunch and nutty flavor to the dessert.Kunafe is often served hot, straight out of the oven, and is best enjoyed with a cup of Arabic coffee or tea. It is a popular dessert during Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr, and other special occasions, and is often served at weddings and other celebrations.In recent years, kunafe has gained popularity beyond the Middle East, with many chefs and food bloggers experimenting with different flavors and variations. Some have added chocolate or Nutella to the cheese filling, while others have added fruits such as mango or strawberries to the syrup.
For Sugar Syrup:
- Water 1 cup
- Sugar 1/2 cup
- Green cardamom 3
- Kewra water 1 Tsp
- Fried vermicelli (pheni) 200 grams / 1 packet
- Butter melted 1/2 cup
- Orange food color (optional) 1/2 Tsp
- Ricotta Cheese/cream cheese 200 grams
- Mozzarella Cheese 1/2 cup
- In a pot add water, cardamom, sugar, mix well and cook for 20/25 minutes or until gets a bit thick consistency.
- Now add kewra water and set aside.
- In vermicelli add butter, food color, crush and mix well.
- Take a baking pan and grease it with butter.
- Layer with half of the vermicelli and press gently.
- Spread Ricotta cheese evenly, don’t spread it on the edges.
- Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
- Layer with remaining vermicelli and press gently.
- Now, bake it for 30 minutes at 200 C.
- Rest kunafa for 10 minutes and then flip onto a serving plate, drizzle sugar syrup and garnish with pistachios and dried rose petals.
I followed it exactly as written and it turned out perfectly.