Kunafa the Traditionally Desert
photo by Walid Nazzal
- Ready In:
- 2hrs 30mins
- 1 lb konafa pastry dough (can be found in most middle eastern, arab or greek grocery stores or markets)
- 1⁄2 lb butter, melted
- 1 1⁄2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1⁄2 lemon, juice of
- 1⁄2 teaspoon rose water or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1⁄4 cup blanched whole almond
- 1⁄2 cup golden raisin
- 2 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped (or 2 1/2 cups pistachios and omit raisins)
- 2 1⁄2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 lb soft ricotta cheese (this is an alternative filling, if using ricotta omit the nuts, raisins, cinnamon and the 2 1/2 tbsp)
- butter, for buttering the pan
- 1. In a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, add water, the 1 1/2 cups sugar and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Let simmer to a syrupy consistency. Remove from heat, let cool and add rosewater or vanilla.
- 2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees Celsius Butter a 12-inch round, 2-inch high cake pan.
- 3. In a large bowl gently loosen kataifi. Mix very well with the 1/2 pound of melted butter. Place blanched almonds in a decorative pattern in the cake pan. Cover with half of the kataifi. Press down lightly.
- 4. If using the ricotta cheese, spread in an even layer over kataifi, then cover with the remaining half of the kataifi. Press down gently.
- 5. If using the raisins and walnuts sprinkle an even layer over kataifi. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Cover with the remainig half of the kataifi. Press down gently.
- 6. Bake until lightly golden, about 30 to 45 minutes. (Note: the reverse side will be more golden when you turn it out.)
- 7. Immediately pour cold sugar syrup evenly over the hot kunafa. Let cool completely to room temperature. Invert onto serving plate.
- 8. If using the ricotta cheese, kunafa should be served warm or hot. It may be difficult to invert with the ricotta filling so cut and serve from pan.
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