Knafeh is a very popular Middle Eastern dessert that is made with layers of shredded Phyllo dough, Mozzarella cheese and a special filling mixture. Knafeh is then topped with rosewater flavored syrup, making a delicious savory and sweet dessert.
In Lebanon this is a traditional breakfast much like waffles or pancakes.
Shredded Phyllo dough can be found at any Middle Eastern store. Our local store carries Apollo Kataifi.
The first step is to make the simple rosewater syrup which is a mixture of sugar, water, lemon juice and rosewater. Be sure your rosewater syrup cools completely before using to top the Knafeh.
Start by making the rosewater syrup:
- In a small sauce pan, combine 2 cups sugar and 11/2 cups water over medium-high heat. Stir well.
- Bring mixture to a boil.
- Add lemon juice.
- Cook for another 5 minutes.
- Remove the syrup from the heat, add the rosewater, give it a quick stir and set aside.
Make the Knafeh filling:
- In a small non-stick pan, over medium heat combine milk, cream of wheat and 3 tbsp sugar, whisking constantly to work out any lumps.
- Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently until you bring the mixture to a boil and until the mixture thickens. ( Frequent stirring is essential to avoid the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan).
- Reduce heat to low and let it cook for another 5 minutes.
- Set aside.
Get the Phyllo dough ready:
- Use a food processor to finely shred the Phyllo dough into smaller pieces.
- Transfer to a medium sized bowl, and mix with melted butter until all pieces are coated with butter.
To get the Knafeh ready for baking:
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Coat the bottom of a 9-inch cheesecake pan with cooking/baking spray.
- Add the mixture of shredded Phyllo dough and butter to the bottom of the pan, spread it firmly and evenly.
- Add a layer of the shredded Mozzarella cheese.
- Top the pan with a layer of the knafeh mixture.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove pan from oven and set aside until it cools completely.
- Loosen the Knafeh from the rim of the springform pan, Invert into a serving place.
- The shredded Phyllo dough will be the top of the Knafeh.
- Pour half of the reserved and cooled rosewater syrup over the knafeh.
- Decorate with crushed pistachios on top of the knafeh, if using.
- Serve each Knafeh Piece with remaining rosewater syrup on the side.