Kanafeh recipe, a.k.a knafeh, is a traditional Egyptian dessert that is popular during Ramadan. Its taste makes it a special dish for special holidays and events.
It has a sweet, crispy, and buttery taste that leaves you craving for more. Orange blossom water, sugar, and cheese add a twist giving it a heavenly flavor.
The treat features different shapes, which gives you the freedom to unleash your creativity. Just like most recipes, knafeh has a history. And below is how the modern variation evolved.
Take a look!
History of Kanafeh Recipe
Kanafeh recipe was first prepared by doctors for caliphs who were hungry during Ramadan. The same happened in Fatimid, Egypt.
As early as the 10th century, the recipe was documented with Fatimid roots. Looking at the modern kanafeh, it is evident that the dish has evolved.
During the 13th century, people cooked Knafeh with a thin batter. Preparations were done on a “mirror” (the tābaq) or a flat Indian sheet. The dessert was enjoyed with layered honey, rose syrup, and cheese.
Later in the 15th century, another recipe variation emerged, which resembles the modern knife. Additional ingredients including honey, rose water, butter, sugar, nuts, and sweetened cheese gives it some flare.
The special recipe became popular globally and is one of the most celebrated desserts by Muslims during the month of Ramadan.
Knowing how to prepare this classic recipe will lighten up your day and leave an incredible experience for your guests.
And here is how to go about it.
1 pound of Akawwi cheese
800 g phyllo pastry (shredded)
1 cup of unsalted butter
1 tbsp fresh lemon
3 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tbsp orange blossom water
½ cup of pistachios (finely chopped)
1 cup sugar
Preparing The Syrup
- Put sugar and 1 cup of water in a large saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil until it thickens.
- Remove from heat and add orange blossom water and lemon juice. Stir the mixture for two minutes.
- Let the mixture cool down completely, and refrigerate until the following day.
Preparing The Pastry
- Put the mozzarella cheese in a bowl and add water. Put in a fridge overnight and change the water often when it gets cloudy.
- Put the phyllo pastry twice in a food processor until finely shredded.
- Transfer the shredded pastry into a large bowl. Pour the melted butter while leaving like two tablespoons.
- Using your fingers, mix the pastry with butter, covering it with butter.
- Drain and rinse the cheese. Wipe your food processor clean and add the cheese. Blitz the cheese until you get tiny lumps that resemble cottage cheese.
- Transfer your cheese to a large bowl and set it aside.
Baking Your Kanafeh
- Preheat the oven up to 1800 C and the fan at 1700 C.
- Transfer half of the butter-soaked pastry in a baking dish and part down.
- Top with a layer of cheese. Part down gently, making sure the cheese does not get displaced.
- Bake for 40 minutes until golden brown. Remove and leave it to cool down.
- Run a butter knife on the sides to release any cheese or pastry that may be stuck.
- Cover the baking dish with a serving plate and flip the dish to transfer the treat on the platter.
- Pour the syrup all over the kanafeh until saturated. Set it aside for ten minutes before enjoying it.
- Serve and garnish with pistachios.