Kunafa, Knafeh, Kunafah, the name is different in different countries. This is a Middle Eastern dessert recipe majorly used often in festive days. Kunafa-Middle Eastern dessert is a mild flavoured dessert can be made in an oven with simple ingredients.
This is a version of a rich, creamy, sweet dessert covered in a crunchy outer layer topped with your favourite cream and pistachio. The description itself makes the mouth water. Isn’t it?
It is made of a sweet, very fine vermicelli-like pastry and stuffed with cheese. It is most often topped with ice cream, a thick whipped cream, or crushed nuts(pistachio is more common).
Kunafa-Middle Eastern dessert-Ingredients
Kataifi is a very fine vermicelli-like pastry used to make desserts in the various Mediterranean and middle eastern cuisines, particularly Palestinian. Kataifi or Qataifi is the “shredded phyllo” dough base we use in this Kunafa recipe. I am in Singapore and the Qataifi dough is not common in Singapore. I am using the thin fried vermicelli (Pheni) available in Indian shops to replace the Kataifi dough.
The generic filling usually includes cream cheese or fat filling. I tried to make this into a low-fat version I made a filling with milk and cornflour. The vanilla extract enhances the flavour of the filling into a better level.
Authentic Knafeh Na’ameh is typically made with Arabic cheeses like Akkawi or Nabulsia. But I am using the mozzarella cheese which has the same quality of elasticity.
The sugar syrup is made with simple steps and you can add rose water if you like the flavour. A squeeze of lemon will balance the sugar and enhances the taste.
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Kunafa- Simple and Easy middle eastern food
- Electric oven
- 200 gm pheni fried vermicelli
- ¼ cup Crushed pistachio
- 1¼ cup Milk
- 1½ tbsp Corn flour
- ¼ tsp Vanilla essence/extract
For sugar syrup
- 4 tsp Sugar
- ¼ cup Water
- Dry roast the fried vermicelli(Pheni).
- Keep aside.
- Add 1 cup milk in a pan and boil.
- Add ¼ cup milk in a bowl.
- Add cornflour and mix well until there are no lumps formed.
- Add the cornflour mixture into the boiling milk and mix well.
- Make sure there aare no lumps formed and break if anything left.
- Add vanilla extract and keep aside.
- Grease a baking pan.
- Add the fried vermicelli.
- Use any flat bottom cup/bowl to press and flatten the fried vermicelli.
- Pour the filling on top of the vermicelli.
- Place the cheese.
- Spread the fried vermicelli on top of the cheese and press the vermicelli one more time.
- preheat the oven for 170c for 10 minutes.
- place the baking pan for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top turns into golden brown.
- When the kunafa is ready to serve,add a squeeze of lemon to the sugar syrup.
- Drizzle the sugar syrup on top of the kunafa.
- Sprinkle the crushed pistachio on the top and serve warm.
- If you like rose water, add rose water in sugar syrup to enhance the flavour and taste of the dessert.
- I used a blender to crush the pistachio.
- You can add rose water in the filling too. If you prefer to add after you remove the milk mixture from heat.
- You can add almonds if you prefer so.
This is a dessert that must be served warm, while the cheese is still gooey. It is best if served right away from the oven or reheats it if you are preparing in advance for any special occasion.
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