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Kunafa Shopping Tips
Middle Eastern cuisine relies on some fragrant and expensive spices and seasonings such as cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, coriander, turmeric, and sumac. If possible, buy and store them whole; whole spices have a stronger aroma and flavor.
Kunafa Cooking Tips
For a stronger flavor and aroma, toast spices before grinding them, and only grind the amount that you need for the recipe. Keeping spices whole until needed extends their shelf life.
Rich white wines and full-bodied reds go well with most cheeses and cheese-based dishes. Some specific recommendations: chardonnay or pinot blanc with goat cheese; dry chenin blanc with earthy cheeses; rosÃ© or sercial madeira with melted-cheese appetizers; port with blue cheese (especially stilton); amontillado sherry or syrah/shiraz with strong cheeses; olooros or palo cortado sherry with creamy cheeses; merlot or carmÃ©nÃ¨re with mild cheeses; cabernet sauvignon, malbec, mourvÃ¨dre, RhÃ´ne blends, or petite sirah with cheddar- or gouda-type cheeses; nero d'avola with full-flavored Spanish or Italian cheeses; sangiovese with dishes using parmigiano-reggiano and similar cheeses.
Jordanian Kunafa is sweet pastry dish that is made with very thin strands of filo dough and a cheese filling. Akkawi is the type of cheese used in Jordan, I substituted low fat ricotta with mozzarella. I was able to find the kataifi dough in my local Middle Eastern market but vermicelli can also be used as a substitute. We loved the sweet pastry, the noodle like dough covered in ghee gets golden brown and crispy, the cheese filling is delicious, because it is a cheese filling! Topped with a sweet syrup that was flavored with citrus and rose water and then garnished with nuts and fruit. Divine!
To begin making the Arabic Sweet Kunafa Recipe (Knafeh), preheat oven to 180 C. We shall start with preparing sugar syrup. In a saucepan add sugar and water and boil until it becomes sticky and comes to syrup consistency. It should have a two string consistency. Ensure you do this on low heat.
Remove the sugar syrup from from the heat, add lemon juice and rose water. Stir and keep aside.
Next for preparing filling. Heat milk and add corn flour whisking vigorously without forming lumps. Boil keeping it in low flame and once it thickens, add rose water and allow the milk custard to cool completely.
For preparing kunafa crust, break the strands of kunafa dough (strands) with hands. Add melted butter and mix well with hands to coat the kunafa dough well with butter. Now divide the quantity of coated strands into two. You can also make Kunafa dough (strands) at home, but it takes time.
Take the baking pan lined with parchment paper and greased with butter. Add one half of the kunafa pastry to the bottom and press well into even layer.
Pour the milk pudding and spread evenly. Sprinkle the shredded cheese above the pudding.
Next add the other half of the kunafa pastry at top and press down gently. Add chopped pistachios at top. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
Place the Arabic Kunafa Pastry in the oven and bake for about 30 to 40 minutes until the top turns brown and crispy.
Once the kunafa is baked, allow it cool and pour half of the sugar syrup at top.
Take a knife and run through the sides. Place a plate at top and flip gently. Pour the remaining sugar syrup over the kunafa and add chopped pistachios.
Slice and serve the Arabic Sweet Kunafa warm. The cheese may become hard so always make it hot before serving. Enjoy this royal dessert at home.
For the Scented Simple Syrup:*
- 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (237ml) water
- Squeeze of lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water, optional*
- 1/4 teaspoon rose water, optional*
For the Cream-Filling:
- 1 1/2 cup (355ml) whole milk
- 1 1/2 cup (355ml) heavy whipping cream*
- 3 tablespoons (38g) granulated sugar
- 5 tablespoons (35g) cornstarch
- 2 small or 1 medium piece of mastic (mistika), ground into fine powder (optional)*
- 2 teaspoons orange blossom water, optional*
- 1 teaspoon rose water, optional*
For the Konafa Crust:
- 1 lb/ 500g konafa (kataifi/kadayef dough), fresh or frozen. If using fresh, freeze for an hour for easier cutting. If using frozen, thaw slightly*
- 1 cup (227g) melted ghee (or clarified butter)*
As far as I remember the gem came from my Palestenian friend Zahira, where I found the recipe written on a torn sheet of one of my notebook papers – I never had the chance to make it!
When I was hosting a group of friends for iftar last week, I made the Nabulsi Kunafa following Zahira’s old recipe which was my first trial!! It was a warm evening and we had a wonderful time together. My guests were blown away by the taste. We argued over which version is better, the Lebanese or the Palestinian version! I guess it takes a bit of hubris to decide which is the best, especially for a recipe such as knafeh/kunafa! Both are simply amazing. Keep this recipe for special occasions or when you really want to wow someone special!! Sublime!!
Saturday the 24th marks the end of Ramadan, and Eid El Fitir is approaching! Wish you all a blessed Eid!!
- Sugar syrup should be cold when drizzled over the warm knafeh/kunafa
- The kunafa/ knafeh keeps crunchy for several days in the fridge. To rewarm leftovers, place in an oven safe pan, cover with foil and reheat for 10-15 minutes!
- You can assemble the Nabulsi knafeh/ kunafa a day ahead and bake right before serving!!
- The best substitute for Akkawi cheese will be a mix of both mozzarella and ricotta cheese!
Akkawi cheese needs to be desalted. Cut the cheese into squares, cover with water and soak it for 8 hours, changing the water every 1 hour to reduce its saltiness.
Sugar syrup should be cold when drizzled over the warm knafeh/kunafa. Prepare it one or two days in advance and keep it in the refrigerator!
You need to clarify the butter (clarifying the butter removes the milk solids which prevent the kadayfi/ shredded filo pastry from burning while baking in the oven).
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat butter over medium heat until it is melted. Set aside for 15 minutes. You will notice the milk solids fall to the bottom, strain it through a wire sieve lined with several layers of cheesecloth. Pour the melted butter over the cheeseclotth and get rid of the milk solids.
Defrost the shredded filo pastry if frozen. Lightly pull the dough with your hands to separate into a loose pile. Add to a food processor, you may probably need to do that in batches, and pulse a few times, keeping it coarse.
Pour 1/4 cup of the clarified butter to a 30cm/12 inches round cake tin. Add a small pinch of food coloring. Spread and diffuse the food coloring with the clarified butter by using a brush, making sure to cover the whole tin.
Using your hands, mix together the shredded filo pastry with the remaining clarified butter.
Transfer half of the shredded filo mixture to the greased cake tin and press it into the bottom of the tin and slightly up the sides, use the bottom of a flat measuring cup to do this.
Equally add the strained cheese to completely cover the surface.
Add the remaining shredded pastry to fully cover the cheese.
Press it gently with your hands. Bake in a preheated oven, to 200°C/400°F, about 30 minutes or until the top and bottom of the kunafa,/knafeh turn golden and crisp.
Remove from the oven, and loose the edges with a knife. Invert to a serving plate. Evenly drizzle ½ cup of sugar syrup all over the knafeh/kunafa.
Drizzle some more sugar syrup on individual slices when serving! Sublime!!
- 500 g. /1lb. 2 oz. Kadayfi strands/kunafah strands/ shredded filo pastry
- 400 g. /14 oz. unsalted butter
- 1 kg. / 2 lb. 4 oz. Akkawi/ Akawi cheese
- Red food color, I usedpowder
- 3 cups sugar syrup
- Start by desalting the Akkawi cheese: Cut the Akkawi cheese into medium-sized squares, cover with water and soak for 8 hours, changing the water every 1 hour to reduce its saltiness. Strain and set aside.
- Prepare the sugar syrup . Set aside to completely cool down.
- To clarify the butter: In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat butter over medium heat until it is melted. Set aside for 15 minutes. You will notice the milk solids fall to the bottom, strain it through a wire sieve lined with several layers of cheesecloth. Pour the melted butter over the cheeseclotth andget rid of the milk solids.
- Defrost the shredded filo pastry if frozen. Lightly pull the dough with your hands to separate into a loose pile. Add to a food processor, you may probably need to do that in batches, and pulse a few times, keeping it coarse.
- Pour 1/4 cup of the clarified butter to a 30cm/12 inches round cake tin. Add a small pinch of food coloring. Spread and diffuse the food coloring with the clarified butter by using a brush, making sure to cover the whole tin.
- Using your hands, mix together the shredded filo pastry with the remaining clarified butter. Divide into 2 equal portions.
- Transfer first portion to the greased cake tin and press the shredded pastry into the bottom of the tin and slightly up the sides, use the bottom of a flat measuring cup to do this.
- Equally add the strained cheese to completely cover the surface.
- Add the remaining shredded pastry to fully cover the cheese, and press it gently with your hands.
- Bake in a preheated oven, to 200°C/400°F, about 30 minutes or until the top and bottom of the kunafa,/knafeh turn golden and crisp.
- Remove from the oven, and loose the edges with a knife. Invert to a serving plate.
- Evenly drizzle ½ cup of sugar syrup all over the knafeh/kunafa. Drizzle some more sugar syrup on individual slices when serving! Sublime!!
How to make it
Add the kadaif dough to a large bowl and break it up with your fingers so it's loose (no chunks of dough).
Combine the kadaif dough with the clarified butter and mix with your hands to coat thoroughly. Spread half the dough in a 8-by-12-inch baking pan or dish (alternatively use a round pan of similar size), pressing down lightly (PHOTO 1). Spread the ricotta cheese over the surface (PHOTO 2).
Then top with the rest of the buttery dough, pressing down firmly (PHOTO 3). Bake at 400°F until golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cut into a 4-by-6 grid to yield 24 squares (PHOTO 4). Cool completely.
Prepare the syrup by dissolving the sugar in the water over high heat (PHOTO 5). Bring to a boil then add the lemon juice and cloves (PHOTO 6).
Lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and rest for about 17 or 18 minutes until the syrup is warm, but not too hot (about 160 to 165°F).
Discard the cloves and ladle the very warm syrup over the pan of kunafa and let it soak until mostly absorbed, about 1 hour. Most of the syrup should soak into the dough. Use a sharp knife and go over all the previous cuts, making sure the ricotta cheese kunafa is cut all the way through before serving.
How to Make Kunafa
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The buttery pastry of kunafa is typically prepared and eaten during Ramadan. The dessert has Middle Eastern and Greek origins and often features a creamy filled center and a lemon simple syrup glaze on top. While you can purchase this pastry in most bakeries during Ramadan, it is also a simple pastry to make and enjoy year-round. With just some shredded kataifi (phyllo) dough and a filling of your choice, you will be able to recreate this flavorful pastry at home.  X Research source
A popular Middle Eastern dessert, Kunafa is extremely delicious and has a melt-in-the-mouth texture. Check out the recipe of kunafa that could be easily prepared in a frying pan.
250 gms kunafa filo pastry
4 -5 tbsp butter
125 ml cream
200 gms mozzarella cheese
¾ cup sugar
½ cup water
2 cardamom pods
2 drops rose essence
1 tsp lemon juice
Cut the filo pastry into small pieces
Pour the melted butter into the pastry pieces and mix well
Grease a non stick pan with butter
Spread the buttered filo pastry in it
Spread cream on top of it
Now spread the mozzarella cheese
Place the rest of the filo pastry on top of these
Close the lid and bake for 20 - 25 minutes
To prepare the rose syrup, mix water, sugar, cardamom pods, rose essence and lemon juice
Heat this mixture
Pour the hot sugar syrup on the kunafa
Kunafa tastes best when it is served hot.
Kunafa Recipe | How to make Kunafa | Vermicelli Knafeh
Kunafa Recipe is known as Queen of Arabic dessert. It is most royal and supreme dessert made up of mozzarella cheese and vermicelli, which gives crisp and crunchy finishing. The Kunafa consist of rose and orange blossom scented sugar syrup and cheesy filling inside.
Tried this recipe? Mention @GoFooddy or tag #GoFooddy!
Believe me it is not a pizzzaaa. Yes its dessert . One of the sweet, crisp and crunchy dessert, infused with mozzarella cheese. The crunchness comes with broken vermcelli messed in melted butter. Kunafa is have many different names such as konafa, kanafeh and knafeh.
You will find it similar to cheese cake but wait, its NOT that even! Here you have crisppzz.. This dish is basically from Middle-Eastern/ Mediterranean. Kunafa recipe have all ingredients in one, like you have sweetness, cheese, sourness, chrunchess, buttery and wait! dry fruits too.
Try some Vermicelli recipes...
Typically, cheese kunafa consist of Nabulsi and Akkawi cheese, these are Arabic cheeses. But the reason why people use mozzzrella cheese is because Nabulsi and Akkawi cheese are quiet salty. To get rid off salt, cheese is soak in water for hours. After every next hour the water is change and fill with new water.
Kunafa With Mixed Nuts Recipe
For me Ramadan begins when the Kunafa is set on the table, looking crispy and delicious. Let's face it, Ramadan cannot be ramadan without Kunafa, other desserts too, but for the purpose of this feature we will be focusing on Konafa.
- 2 cups of chopped, mixed nuts
1-Get a deep pan, and pour the 1 1/2 cup of water, the 1 1/2 cup of sugar and stir over medium heat.
2- Keep stirring the sugar and water for 10 minutes until you feel that liquid thickened.
3- Squeeze half the lemon on the thickened liquid and stir for 2 more minutes. Cover up the syrup and leave it aside to cool down.
4- For an added flavor you can add one tea spoon of rose water, but that is up to you.
Start off by pre-heating your oven to 350 degrees.
1- Place the raw kunafa in a big bowl and begin cutting it with your hands into small pieces. Gather up big clumps with both hands and just pull outwards, snapping it into small pieces.
2- Melt the butter in the microwave or cooking bowl.
3- Once the butter has completely melted, pour it into the bowl on the small chopped kunafa.
4- Start mixing, with your hands, the kunafa and the butter throughly. Keep mixing until the raw kunafa should all feel moist.
5- Get a round pan and make sure to butter up the surface and the sides to avoid any sticking.
6- Now take half the portion of the buttered raw kunafa from the bowl and add it to the pan. Using your hands press down the raw kunafa to the surface of the pan, creating a flat, relatively thick surface of konafa. Emphasize the pressing on the sides, you want to avoid any lumps.
7- Once you have completely flattened the raw kunafa, it's time to add the mixed nuts. Spread it out evenly all over the flat surface. For an added taste you can add some cinnamon among the nuts.
8- Use the other half of buttered raw kunafa to cover the mixed nuts. Repeat the same process of patting it down very well until completely flat.
9- Place the kunafa in the oven for 35 minutes leaving it to become a golden color.
10- After the 35 minutes, remove the kunafa from the oven and place it under the grill. The purpose of the grill is to give that outer surface a golden crisp look and taste.
11- Place it in the grill for around 5 minutes, twist the pan every other minute so the fire can reach all boundaries and the golden color will be even.
12- Once you take out the kunafa from the oven, pour the syrup on top of it evenly.
13- Leave it aside for 10 minutes to cool down, then you are ready to serve.