4 years ago5,000+ Views
I recently read an article put out by CNN that calls this dessert, knafeh (pronounced kuh-nah-feh), the 'cheesecake of the Middle East'. I don't know if I necessarily agree, but in their defense, knafeh certainly has the appeal and popularity of cheesecake in the region. Knafeh is comprised of layers of shredded phyllo dough, stuffed with sweet cheese and garnished with chopped pistachios and a warm orange blossom syrup. It's completely decadent, and growing up, we used to make it for several special occasions. (You can even find it on the dessert list of many Arabic and Greek restaurants here in the States!) This one might require you to do a little shopping, but it is definitely doable and worth the effort! Knafeh dough (aka the aforementioned shredded Phyllo) can be found in the freezer section of most grocery stores labeled as either shredded Phyllo or Kataifi dough. ('Kataifi' is the Greek name for the same dessert!) ------------------------------------------------------------------ Knafeh (Baked Shredded Dough) To Make Thin Attar Syrup: 2 cups sugar 1 1/2 cup water 1 tbsp. lemon juice 1 tsp. orange blossom water, optional Mix sugar and water and bring to boil. Add lemon juice and boil for 7 more minutes. When cool, add orange blossom water (optional). To Make Knafeh: 1 lb. Knafeh Dough (Katif Dough) 2 lbs. sweet cheese (Syrian or Ricotta) 1 to 1 1/2 cups clarified butter 1/2 cup sugar 1 tbsp. orange blossom water 1/4 cup pine nuts 1 tsp. of Knafeh coloring, optional (If you go to an Arabic grocery store, this will be a small jar of pinkish-orange powder.) 1/4 cup pistachios, chopped 2 cups Thin Attar 1. Mix cheese, sugar, and orange blossom water together. 2. Chop Knafeh dough with a sharp knife. Mix with 1 3/4 cups hot butter over low fire for 15 minutes, or until dough absorbs all the butter. 3. Mix 1/4 cup butter, Knafeh coloring (optional), and spread in a 17" x 12" pan. Sprinkle pine nuts evenly. 4. Spread 2/3 of the dough in pan over the nuts and press well. Spread the cheese mixture over dough evenly. Cover with the rest of dough. Press well. 5. Bake at 400 degrees in a preheated oven for 30 minutes. (Place on lower rack.) 6. Add thin Attar. Flip the tray over in another tray of the same size. Return to oven and bake for 10 more minutes. 7. Garnish with pistachios (optional). Serve hot.
I've never tried this but by the list of ingredients alone I can tell that this will be so tasty. I'll have to add this to my list of things to whip up!
@peppermintt Really?! That's so funny. It really is SO GOOD!
This is my dad's favorite dessert when we visit my relatives! Now I can make it for him without having to drive up to LA for some!
@inthekitchen It's really really good. You can make it with or without the syrup. Either way, it's really tasty.