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Cheese Kunafa

Kunafa is traditionally eaten during Ramadan. A good cheese Kunafa is about as hard to find as a needle in a haystack but this recipe is it; you will never bother with anymore. An easy trick to browning your Kunafa is to sit the cake pan on the oven eye for a few seconds to lightly brown after it is taken from the oven. In addition, it is a good idea to shred some of that pastry with your hands unless you want huge strings that are not easy to work with. You can even cut it into small pieces if you have the time.

For the syrup:
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon orange blossom water or rose water

1. On low heat, add sugar, water, lemon juice and flavored water. Stir until thick. Allow to cool in refrigerator.

Cheese filling: 1 pound mozzarella
1/2 pound ricotta
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons orange blossom water or rose water

1. In a food processor add mozzarella, ricotta, sugar and flavored water, mix well. Set aside. Pastry: 1 pound of defrosted Kataifi (knafi) 2 sticks of unsalted butter, melted Pistachios to garnish 1. Place kataifi in a large bowl with butter, mix and untangle strings with hands. In a 10-11 inch pie pan, place half of pastry in the bottom. Add cheese filling, pressing down with hand, add remaining of pastry strings. Bake in a 325 F over for 45 minutes. 2.

2. After pastry has baked, place the pan on the stove eye for a few seconds to make top brown and not pale. With a butter knife, go around kunafa, place plate on top and flip. Decorate with nuts. I grind mine in a processor. You can get creative now. I add the sugar syrup before and after. However, I sit most of it on the table and let people decide how much they want.

Yields: 8 servings Adapted from Arabsque


  1. Anjum9/07/2008

    asak,i live in riyadh saudi arabia...n kunafa is my favourite sweet of arabs ..i hav it at guzzi...its lovely..i always wanted to learn how to make it...so here it goes..thanks so much

  2. pickyeater9/08/2008

    I love kunafa. I usually make mine with a custard filling because I haven't found the perfect cheese for it. I think your choice of cheeses might work I hope to try it on eid.

  3. Noor9/10/2008

    Anjum, I love kunafa as well and its so easy to make people are always shocked.

    Picky, My dh prefers the custard filling and I have a recipe that I make as well for him but its A LOT harder. I will try to post it when we get off the trip for you. I like it this way though, and yes this combo is the best I ever used, its just perfect with everything. Try it out and let us know what you think.

  4. Sonia3/16/2009

    Assalam alaikum,

    Cheese kunafa is the favorite of EVERYONE in my family, especially my girls. This recipe is a win-win situation, my family gets their favorite sweet, and I don't have to slave in the kitchen to make it. SOOO unbelievably easy!

  5. Anonymous10/25/2010

    Hi there! When it says 'Place kataifi in a large bowl with butter' I'm assuming that is melted butter, correct?

  6. Yes, melted butter I am sorry for not clarifying it and thank you for pointing it out to me :)

  7. Salam alaikum wa ramatulah this is UmmBinat. This turned out too salty from the mozzarella so I guess it is important to use fresh mozzarella and that should be stated in the recipe. I also prefer this ratio for the syrup and the way it is made, http://www.food.com/recipe/attar-syrup-middle-east-palestine-322374. I mixed it all by hand. If I try this again I will be sure to use 100% salt free cheese and the syrup we prefer.

    1. Anonymous2/08/2012

      That's true about the cheese but u can shred the cheese n let it sit in some water to take the salt out n then drain it.