Kunafa (also called kataifi or knafeh) is an Arabic dish that is often cooked in Ramadan, the holy month when Muslims fast. During Ramadan fasting, you can eat only in the dark. It is believed that Kunaf was invented by a doctor who saw how difficult it is for princes to control their appetite during fasting. He invented a dish and ordered the princes to eat it “more before dawn,” and thanks to the kunaf they “did not feel hunger until the evening” (Al-Ahram, 2004). Kunaf is a sweet dessert made from very thin wheat noodles, raisins, nuts and cream. In some recipes for this dish, cream is replaced with mozzarella or cream cheese, sometimes sprinkled with cinnamon. The recipes for this dessert vary slightly by region. This kunafa recipe contains nuts and comes from Egypt.
- 400-500 g chopped filo dough (thin sheets of stretch dough)
- 200-250 g butter
- 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
- 2 cups (300 g) any chopped nuts
- 1 ½ cup (300 g) sugar
- 1 cup (250 ml) of water
- ½ lemon
Kunafe / Kunafe (Kunafen): flavored pastries with cheese filling, soaked in sweet syrup and sprinkled with grated almonds and pistachios
Gourmet dessert stuffed with brackish goat cheese Nabulshi under a crispy kadaif. Kunafe (Knafe) - the king of Arabian sweets, - says the chef of Arabian cuisine Fadi Kulkush (Hotel Conrad Dubai). The main nuance that determines the taste is the filling from Nabulshi cheese (soft or hard, from sheep’s milk). Right-dough kunafe with fresh cheese can be enjoyed at the Firas Sweets restaurant in Dubai and small restaurants in Sharjah
Arabic or Lebanese recipe
Taste brackish sweet. Scent fresh baking, creamy (cheese) with a touch of rose
Cooking method: defrost + heat + stir + chop + bake / fry
Basic household appliances: stove + oven
Main cooking utensils: volumetric bowl (for dough), bowl (for heating oil), knife + board, baking dish / pan
Main Products: cheese, kadaif, nuts
Cooking time: 1 hour +
Level of difficulty: tall
Type of dish: dessert (pastries, casserole)
How to cook it?
- defrost the semi-finished kadaif. Or make thin semolina dough, cut into long thin strings, like noodles or spaghetti. It’s difficult to cook Kadaif, it’s better to buy. Put the dough in a large bowl, stir up, so that the noodles become airy, separated well from one another
- cut the butter into pieces and melt in a bowl until two layers are obtained. Drain the top transparent layer carefully. On such ghee, purified from water and milk proteins, baking does not burn (it has a higher combustion temperature)
- add food coloring to ghee. Dilute the jelly-like dye in 1 tbsp. water. Pour the butter in parts into a bowl of kadaf noodles, gently stirring to oil all the noodles well
- Place ⅔ noodles evenly on the bottom of the baking dish (or pan). Cover with evenly grated or thinly sliced cheese, and on top with a layer of cadaif
- bake in the oven for 10 minutes (according to the Lebanese recipe - simmer cheese for a long time on low heat). Or fry in a pan for 7-10 minutes, until the bottom layer is golden brown. Turn on a flat plate to lay the top layer on the bottom of the pan. Fry it for another 10 minutes
- prepare a thick syrup from water, sugar and a few drops of rose water: dilute in a glass of water about a glass of sugar, cook for 10 minutes. over low heat, add flavor, cool well, better in the refrigerator
- put knafe on the dish, cut into portions
- Sprinkle with finely chopped almonds and hazelnuts. Or garnish with pistachios and coconut
- pour baking cold aromatic syrup
Serving Recommendations: dessert is served immediately after baking, so that the dish does not cool. Often iftar is completed with this dish. You can decorate kunafe with pomegranate seeds, candied fruit, etc.
Kunafa step by step recipe
From water, flour, salt and eggs, knead the batter, which is similar in texture to pancake. It is important to thoroughly stir all the lumps, even the smallest. The resulting dough is placed in a plastic bag for confectionery (you can use a stationery file) and cut off only the tip so that the trickle of dough is as thin as possible.
Turn on medium heat. On a heated frying pan, greased with vegetable oil or lard, with thin confident movements we apply thin strings of dough. They do not need to be fried until they are rosy, hold for literally 5-10 seconds and remove. Of course, we fry only on one side.
First of all, you need to prepare a syrup (to prepare kunaf, instead of syrup, you can use melted honey by adding a little water to it), because it needs time to cool. We combine water and sugar, add lemon juice and cardamom. Boil over medium heat for 5-7 minutes.
Next, grind the cadaif dough. You can do this with your hands, but it’s better in the kitchen processor to get the same small “needles” of dough.
Melt the butter.
Combine the crushed dough with melted butter and mix thoroughly.
We put half of the dough in a baking dish and slightly press down with our hands. It is better to choose a form in which kunaf can be served. For example, a low form for tarts. Then you can not use parchment paper.
Then we lay a layer of raisins and chopped pistachios, leaving 1/3 of the nuts for decoration.
And close everything with the remaining dough, slightly pressing it with your hands.
Bake kunaf at 200 degrees until golden brown. Pour hot kunafu with syrup and decorate with nuts.
Bake kunafu until golden brown, remove from the oven and pour over the syrup.
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