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From Your Kitchen - Kanafe

kanafe-3-140.jpgKanafe:  This recipe will serve about 6 - 8 people.

half of a 16 oz package of shredded phyllo pastry dough.  
Our recipe uses half the pastry package but can be doubled to make the full package.  Remove package from freezer and thaw about one hour before using.

kanafe2-140.jpg1/2 c. of unsalted butter

1/4 - 1/2 kilo of bocconcini cheese.  Rinse cheese in water a few times to remove any salt.

Mozzarella, ricotta, or cream cheese can also be used but the bocconcini is our family favorite. In our recipe we used about 1/3 kilo.  Be sure to use unsalted cheese.

1.  Make the simple syrup ahead of time and double the recipe if you want to keep some on hand. 1 c. water, 1. c. sugar    

      Combine  water and sugar and bring to a boil till it becomes syrup consistency - about 10 minutes, let cool.  
Optional:  2 teaspoons lemon juice and orange blossom or rosewater can be added just after the mixture comes to a boil.  We used orange blossom water. This adds a nice flavor to the dessert.

2.  Finely shred the phyllo pastry dough by pulling apart and breaking into small pieces.  This can also be done in a food processor.

3.  Melt butter in microwave and then pour it over the shredded phyllo dough and mix it together so the butter is distributed evenly and all phyllo is covered.
    If you want to use clarified butter then remove the white foam from the top of the melted butter and refrain from using the solid white parts that sink to the bottom.  
    This will give the butter a nuttier taste.  You can also mix a small amount of pastry coloring called kunafa to give a pleasant orange color to the dish.  
    This color reminds us of the Kanafe we ate at the pastry shops we visited in the Old City of Jerusalem.

4.  Take half the mixture of shredded phyllo dough and place in a pie pan or baking sheet.  Press evenly on the bottom of the pan or baking sheet.

5.  Cut, break or shred the cheese and spread the mixture  evenly over the bottom layer of phyllo dough.  

6.  Spread the remaining half of the phyllo dough  over layer of cheese.

7.  Bake at about 350 for about 30 minutes.  Make sure the cheese has melted.

8.  Remove from oven and pour cooled syrup over while kanafe is still hot.  It should be poured slowly over the entire top of the dish.

9. Optional:  Take a pizza pan or baking pan that is slightly larger than original pan and invert the baked kanafee onto the pan.  This is optional but it makes a nice smooth top for an impressive dish. Decorate with chopped pistachios.


There are so many variations to this delicious sweet Arabic dessert.  We like the kanafe thin but it can also be made so it is much thicker.