Knafeh is a dessert made from shredded pastry dough, filled with sweet cheese, and topped with pistachios and qatr. Nablus is renowned for its knafeh, and the best knafeh is called knafeh Nabulsieh. You find knafeh all over Palestine, and when you receive an invitation to someone’s home for knafeh, you know it is a celebration! We carry on this tradition here and have knafeh to celebrate life events and accomplishments.
The knafeh dough is shredded pastry dough, and can be bought at any Mediterranean, Greek, or Arabic store in the frozen section. Because we don’t have access to the traditional cheese here in Seattle, we substitute it with fresh mozzarella and qishta cream. Qishta is a thick cream that you can find at Arabic and Middle Eastern stores.
Traditionally, knafeh is baked on a circular baking sheet, and then inverted onto another baking sheet. You can use rectangular baking sheets, but regardless of shape, make sure you have two of them.
What’s your favorite dessert to celebrate with? Give knafeh a try and let us know how you like it! Sahtain!
- 1 16 oz package of shredded pastry dough (thawed)
- 1 16 oz package of fresh mozzarella
- 1 1/2 sticks (3/4c) of melted butter
- 1 6 oz can of qishta cream
- Orange food coloring (optional)
- Chopped pistachios for garnish
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- a few drops of lemon juice
- 1 Tblsp of orange blossom water
- In a small saucepan, melt the sugar and the cup of water over medium-high heat. When it boils, lower the heat to low, add the lemon juice and orange blossom water and simmer for 10 minutes. Then remove from heat and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350
- In a large bowl, cut the kunafeh into small pieces using kitchen scissors.
- Add the melted butter and food coloring to the dough, and mix with your hands until all of the pastry is coated.
- Cut the mozzarella cheese in thin slices.
- Spread 3/4 of the knafeh dough onto a 14″ circular baking sheet. Press it down into the baking sheet with the palms of your hands.
- Arrange the cheese on top of the dough, leaving an inch around the edges.
- Spread the qishta on top of the cheese.
- Cover the cheese with the remaining knafeh dough.
- Place the baking sheet on the center rack and bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven, cover with the second baking sheet, and flip it over.
- Put it on the top rack and broil for 2-3 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and pour the qatr over the knafeh, allowing it to soak into the entire dessert. Garnish with pistachios and cut into squares.