Knafeh- Knafeh recipe- Lebanese sweets- Lebanese desserts.

Knafeh

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What is Knafeh (Kanafa)?

Knafeh is popular Lebanese and Middle Eastern dessert made with a layer of shredded Phyllo dough, a layer of sweet cheese and a special knafeh filling mixture. Lebanese knafeh is then topped with a simple syrup, making a delicious savory and sweet dessert. It is also known as kanafa, kunafa, kanafeh or knafe.

Knafeh- Knafeh recipe- Lebanese sweets- Lebanese desserts.

In Middle Eastern cuisine Knafeh is a traditional breakfast, much like waffles or pancakes in the US. This impressive dessert is best served hot or warm. Making knafeh looks more intimidating that it actually does. The hardest part about this recipe, is finding the ingredients, especially the phyllo dough. 

Ingredients you Need to Make Lebanese Knafeh: 

Shredded Phyllo Dough:

Shredded phyllo dough can be found at any Middle Eastern store or you can order it online. Our local Middle Eastern store carries Apollo Kataifi and kadayif. Shredded phyllo dough comes frozen or dried, both work for this recipe. If you buy the frozen one, make sure it’s completely thawed and at room temperature before using. Once it’s thawed, you can then break it up into smaller pieces by pulsing it a few times in your food processor.  

Cheese:

A mix of ricotta and mozzarella cheese.

Butter:

To mix it with shredded phyllo dough and create the knafeh crust. 

Milk:

To make the knafeh filling.

Sugar:

Few tablespoons to sweeten the filling mixture. 

Cream of wheat:

Or fine semolina flour, works as a thickener for the knafeh filling.

Simple syrup:

Can be easily made with sugar and water. I like to add rosewater and a slice of lemon for extra flavor. 

knafeh recipe Lebanese- Knafeh Cheesecake

How to Make Lebanese Knafeh Recipe: 

  • Make the Sugar Syrup: The first step to making this knafeh recipe, starts with making this simple sugar syrup- combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and place on a medium high heat, mix well until sugar is well dissolved and bring mixture to a boil. Stir in lemon juice, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 8-10 minutes. remove from heat, stir in rose water if you’d like and set aside to cool down. Sugar syrup needs to be completely cooled down before topping the knafeh. 
  • Prepare phyllo dough crust: Place thawed phyllo dough in a food processor to finely shred it into smaller pieces.  Transfer to a medium sized bowl, and mix with melted butter until all pieces are coated with butter.
  • Prepare the cheese Mixture: In a medium size bowl, mix together shredded mozzarella cheese and ricotta cheese. I like to shred my own mozzarella cheese, but you can use the already shredded mozzarella bag. Make sure they are not salted.

  •  Make the knafeh cheesecake Filling: In a small non-stick pan, over medium heat combine milk, cream of wheat or fine semolina and sugar, whisking constantly to work out any lumps. Bring mixture to a boil then simmer for 5 minutes and until the mixture thickens.

knafeh filling

Assemble the Knafeh:  

  • Preheat oven to 375 F.
  • Coat the bottom of a 9-inch cheesecake springform pan with baking spray.
  • Add a layer of the buttered shredded Phyllo dough to bottom of the pan, spread it firmly and evenly.

  • Add a layer of the shredded mozzarella and ricotta cheese mixture.

  • Top the cheese with a layer of the knafeh filling:

  • Bake until bubbly and browned a little on the side and top- about 25-30 minutes. 
  • Remove pan from oven and wait a few minutes just until its comfortable to handle but too warm. 

  • Invert ( you might need kitchen mittens) the pan into a serving place and loosen the Knafeh from the rim of the springform pan. The shredded Phyllo dough will be the top of the Knafeh.

how to make Lebanese knafeh

 

  • Pour half of the cooled sugar syrup over the knafeh and garnish with crushed pistachios on top of the knafeh, if using.

The best knafeh recipe

 

  • Reserve the rest the sugar syrup for serving with each piece on the side.
  • Enjoy!

knafeh cheesecake

More Lebanese Desserts?

Lebanese Milk Pudding- Mahalabia

Baklava

Date Roll Cookies

The Best Knafeh Recipe: 

Yield: 8 servings

Knafeh

knafeh Lebanese recipe

Knafeh is a delicious Middle Eastern savory and sweet dessert.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

For Knafe Filling

For Rose water syrup

Instructions

Start by making the sugar syrup:

  1. In a small sauce pan, combine sugar and water over medium-high heat. Stir well.
  2. Bring mixture to a boil.
  3. Add lemon juice.
  4. Lower heat to medium low and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the syrup from the heat, add the rosewater, give it a quick stir.
  6. Set aside and let it completely cool down before topping your knafeh.

Get the Phyllo dough ready:

  1. Use a food processor to finely shred the Phyllo dough into smaller pieces. They will look about the size of vermicelli.
  2. Transfer to a medium sized bowl, and mix with melted butter until all pieces are coated with butter.


Make the Knafeh filling:

  1. In a small non-stick pan, over medium heat combine milk, cream of wheat and sugar, whisking constantly to work out any lumps.
  2. 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).
  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  4. Set aside.

To get the Knafeh ready for baking:

    1. Preheat oven to 370 F.
    2. Coat the bottom of a 9-inch cheesecake springform pan with baking spray.
    3. Add the mixture of shredded Phyllo dough and butter to the bottom of the pan, spread it firmly and evenly.
    4. Add a layer of the shredded Mozzarella cheese.
    5. Top the pan with a layer of the knafeh mixture.
    6. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
    7. Remove pan from oven and set aside until its comfortable to handle.

TO SERVE:

    1. Invert into a serving place and loosen the Knafeh from the rim of the springform pan. The shredded Phyllo dough will be the top of the Knafeh.
    2. Pour half of the cooled sugar syrup over the knafeh. Reserve the rest for serving with each piece.
    3. Garnish with crushed pistachios on top of the knafeh, if using.
    4. Serve each Knafeh Piece with the remaining sugar syrup on the side.
    5. Enjoy!

Notes

Looking for more Mediterranean desserts? Here are some:

Date Roll Cookies.

Almond Chocolate Covered Dates.

If you like this Lebanese knafeh recipe or any other recipe on The Salt and Sweet Kitchen, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! You can also follow me on my Instagram page for more recipes!

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