Here’s my little virtual treat on the occasion of celebration of Eid...Kunafa!! It’s the most special Arabic dessert made during the occasion of holy celebrations of Eid in most Arab households... Of all the Middle Eastern desserts, Kunafa rules all. It’s royalty. It’s supreme. It’s an amazing blend of crispy Kunafa dough sandwiched with the layer of gooey cheese dredged in sugar syrup and topped with pistachios. It’s the most popular, most loved and super delicious dessert.
There is whole lot of variations out there from different cheese filling to different shapes and flavours. I added my own little spin to it with the ricotta cheese filling and sweetened with saffron syrup...it was to die for. Until then enjoy my virtual treat this Eid. Eid Mubarak 2020!✨✨
PREP TIME: 20 minutes BAKE TIME: 1 hour 15 minutes SERVES: 10-12
300g Kunafa dough, frozen or fresh, shredded to 1-1/2 inch long strands
125g butter/ghee, melted
250g ricotta cheese
250g mozzarella cheese, grated
For Sugar Syrup:
2 cups crystal white sugar
1 cup water
1 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp rose water
Pinch of saffron threads
1/4 cup pistachios, chopped
5-6 dried English rose buds
Few saffron strands
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease 8” round cake pan, heavily with butter.
In a saucepan, add water and sugar, bring to boil. Add lemon juice, rose water and saffron thread and simmer for 2 minutes until the syrup thickens slightly. Keep aside until used.
In a bowl, break the kunafa dough into 1-1/2 inch long strands. Pour melted butter, coat the dough strands well using your hands and make sure there are no clumps of dough.
Take 3/4 quantity of dough, spread it in the greased pan. Cover the bottom and sides of the pan, making 1/2 an inch deep well in the center. Press the dough firmly at the bottom and sides with the back of a measuring cup.
Mix the two cheeses in a bowl. Drop it into the pastry dough well, spread to level it. Sprinkle rest of the kunafa dough pastry evenly on top. Press it down again with the back of a measuring cup.
Bake it in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the dough pastry turns golden brown.
Remove from oven, pour the sugar syrup on top and leave it in the pan for 15 minutes.
Transfer upside down on to the serving plate. Decorate with chopped pistachios, dried rose buds and saffron thread. Serve warm or room temperature.
If you do not have kunafa dough, this recipe can also be made with thin vermicelli which is generally used for making Sheerkhurma.
Kunafa, kunafeh, kataifi are the same names for this delicious middle eastern dessert.
I used ricotta cheese and mozerella, for the filling which worked so well. Traditionally the cheese filling is made with Akkawi cheese or Shelal/Shellala cheese. Hence it can be made with any of these cheeses available at hand.
Do not use just mozzarella for the kunafa filling as it will become rubbery once its at room temperature. So you must make combination of creamy cheese and mozzarella together.
I used melted butter to moisten the kunafa dough but you can always use ghee instead or a combination of both.