Knafeh / kunafa / kunafe

Knafeh / kunafa / kunafe ⠀

If you haven’t tasted this popular Middle Eastern dessert, you are missing out Made using stringy kataifi pastry, it’s soaked in rose syrup and layered with cheese. It’s a textural delight giving you crunchy, sweet, sharp all in one bite. It’s quite simple to make, follow my instructions below to make your very own Knafeh ⠀

Ingredients ⠀

Sugar syrup:⠀
1 and 1/2 cups white sugar ⠀
1 cup water ⠀
Juice of half lemon ⠀
2 tsp rose water ⠀

375g kataifi pastry, thawed⠀
8 tbsps ghee, melted ⠀
200g ricotta⠀
1 and 1/2 – 2 cups grated mozzarella ⠀
1/4 tsp orange food colouring powder⠀

Garnish: ⠀
Crushed pistachios ⠀
Dried rose petals ⠀


To make your sugar syrup combine sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil then add lemon juice. Simmer on med-low heat until thick. Turn off heat and stir in rose water, set aside and let cool completely. ⠀

Preheat oven to 190 C. Add orange colouring powder and 1/2 tbsp of ghee to the baking pan and brush generously to coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Set aside. ⠀

In a large bowl place your kataifi pastry and add ghee. Combine with your hands until strands are thoroughly coated. Divide the pastry and place half in the baking pan, pressing down using the back of a glass. Cover any visible holes to ensure cheese doesn’t seep through. ⠀

Layer the ricotta on top of the pastry, leaving a 1.5cm space around the edge. Add mozzarella. Cover filling with remaining pastry and bake for 20-30 minutes or until pastry is golden. ⠀

Flip the knafeh on to a serving plate. Drizzle the cooled sugar syrup immediately over the knafeh. Decorate with pistachios and rose petals. Serve while warm and with extra sugar syrup if desired. Enjoy!⠀

Notes ⠀

I recommend using a baking pan without spring form as I found some ghee to seep through the sides while baking. ⠀

Kataifi pastry can be found in your local Middle Eastern supermarket (fridge section) and will need to be thawed for 2 hours in room temperature. I recommend cutting the pastry into smaller strands once ready to use. ⠀

Knafeh can be stored in the fridge for a few days, reheat well before eating.

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