I have come across many great kunafa recipes since living in Saudi Arabia and I hope to be able to share most of them with you all over time. This version has baladi cheese which is a popular cheese throughout the Middle East. I absolutely love the stuff and tend to use it a lot in sweet recipes. If you happen to live in a country where you can not find it just substitute a soft, mild white cheese in its place. You will also be using one can of qasta another popular Saudi ingredient. If you cannot find that one as well you can use my homemade recipe here. You can also make this ahead of time and freeze. Just skip the baking part and when you’re ready all you have to do is pop it into the oven.
1/2 kg kunafa
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons powdered milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 (170 grams) can qashta
2-1/2 cups shredded baladi cheese
1 cup sugar syrup
ground pistachios for topping (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 300F. In a large bowl add kunafa and break a bit apart with hands. Pour butter over the top and wet strands.
2. Divide the strands in half. Grease a round (36cm) pan. Add half of kunafa strands into the pan and level with your hands.
3. In a small saucepan on medium heat add water, cornstarch and milk powder. Mix well until the mixture curdles then remove from heat, allowing to cool a bit. Add cheese, qashta and cardamom to pan, mixing well.
4. Carefully pour mixture on top of kunafa strands, leveling. Put the remaining strands on top also leveling lightly with your hands. Bake in the oven 15-20 minutes until golden.
5. Remove pan from oven and carefully flip onto serving platter. Pour syrup on top of kunafa and allow to soak for at least 30 minutes.