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Kanafeh is a Middle Eastern pastry that is made of Kadaif which is popularly known as angel hair, akawi cheese as well as samneh or ghee (clarified butter). It is baked and then drizzled with a rose water scented syrup then sprinkled with crushed walnuts.
Kanafeh is crispy on the outside and melting on the inside. This dessert is definitely a must try.
Origin of Kanafeh
It was a very popular dessert in many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries for a lot of centuries. The exact origin of Kanafeh is difficult to trace, however several books and culinary experts have said that the first Kanafeh is of Syrian origin.
It is said that Kanafeh was invented in Damascus in Syria in the 7th century by Mu’awiya 1, the first caliph of the Umayyad dynasty. There are also traces of an ancient version of this dessert in a thirteenth-century medieval Andalusian cookbook called Kitab al-Takibh.
The root of the name comes from the Arabic word kanaf which means to protect or to shelter. Depending on the country, the word Kanafeh can be written in many ways; knafeh, knefeh, konafa, kunafa, kunefe or kenafeh.
This dessert may look tricky to prepare but it is actually quite simple. To prepare this dessert, you need to follow these simple steps, which include preparing a special syrup, shredding dough, compiling and then baking the dessert, top it with lots of walnuts and syrup.
The sweet side of this dessert comes out when the rose water syrup has been poured on it before tasting. Rose water is an essential ingredient for this recipe as it brings out lots of flavors and aromas to this pastry.
In the traditional recipe, some drops of orange dye are used in the kadaif and butter preparation to give it a bright and beautiful color . It is best eaten hot.
The major ingredients used are the Kadaif dough which is the cousin to phyllo dough which consists of water and wheat flour which are mixed together. Another major ingredient is the akawi which is basically cheese, you can replace the natural cheese made from the cows milk with mozzarella cheese.
This dessert is an exquisite one that you should definitely try out.
- 1 10- inch Skillet pan
- 225 grams Mozzarella Cheese
- 140 grams Cream cheese
- 454 grams Kadaif
- 340 grams Melted Butter
- 325 grams Sugar
- 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1 tsp Rose Water
- 1/2 tsp Orange Blossom water
- 84 Grams Walnuts
- Set the oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat to 400°F (204°C)
- In a medium bowl, combine the cheese and clotted cream and set aside225 grams Mozzarella Cheese, 140 grams Cream cheese
- slice the shredded Kadaif crosswise into 1/4- to 1/2-inch lengths and transfer to a large bowl454 grams Kadaif
- Pour the melted butter over the Kadaif and, using your hands, toss and mix the Kadaif with the butter in a gentle rubbing motion to ensure that all the Kadaif shreds are evenly coated, about 5 minutes.340 grams Melted Butter
- Transfer half the coated Kadaif to a 10-inch cast iron skillet, evenly distributing it along the bottom of the pan
- Top this with the cheese mixture, spreading it evenly over the first Kadaif layer and leaving a 1/2-inch border along the rim
- Spread the remaining Kadaif over the cheese and once again firmly pack it down
- Bake in the preheated oven until deeply golden brown, about 40 minutes
- For the Syrup:Prepare the syrup while the kanafeh bakes. In a medium sauce pot, add the sugar, lemon juice, and 1 cup of water325 grams Sugar, 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
- Simmer until the syrup reaches 234°F (112°C), or when a small amount dropped into ice water forms a soft ball
- When the kanafeh is ready, finish the syrup by adding the rose and orange blossom waters.1/2 tsp Orange Blossom water, 1 tsp Rose Water
- Invert the pie onto a serving platter and drizzle with the remaining syrup. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and serve right away.84 Grams Walnuts