Knafeh is a traditional Middle Eastern dessert. It's made with Kataifi (shredded phyllo dough), stuffed with sweet cheese, soaked in scented simple syrup and topped with crushed pistachio. There are different versions of this dessert across the Turkey and Greece with different fillings or toppings. This dessert has a very crunchy exterior and it's gooey and cheesy in the middle. While Knafeh looks hard to make, it actually has a pretty easy process and the hardest part might be finding the ingredients. All the ingredients in this recipe can be find in the Middle Eastern grocery stores such as Turkish or Iranian.
Katafi dough can definitely be find in a frozen section of the shop.
If by any chance, you couldn't find the sweet cheese you can replace it with mozzarella (just make sure that it's not heavily salted).
Knafeh traditionally colored with powder color, I on the other hand used saffron. So you can use any of them or non (as it won't affect the taste and it's optional).
You can store this dessert in the fridge in an airtight container for up to couple days and warm it up slightly in microwave or oven before serving.
350 grams Kataifi dough
150 grams unsalted butter (melted)
250 grams sweet cheese
1/4 teaspoon grounded saffron (optional)
150 grams granulated sugar
150 milliliter water
1 1/2 tablespoons rosewater
1 tablespoon orange blossom water (optional)
1/4 cup crushed pistachio
Dried rose petals for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
In a small bowl combine grounded saffron with 2 tablespoons boiling water and let it bloom (do this step if you're using saffron).
In a small saucepan bring the water and sugar to boil. Let it boil for 2 minutes, take the pan off the heat and let it cool down. Add rosewater and orange blossom water (if using).
Chop the Kataifi dough into a small pieces with a knife or scissor (about 1/2 inch pieces).
In a large bowl mix together the chopped Kataifi, melted butter and saffron (if using). Mix until all the dough pieces are coated with butter.
Get a 9 inch pie pan or cake pan. Butter inside of the pan and make sure it is well coated.
Place 2/3 of the Kataifi mixture into the baking dish and press it down firmly. Use bottom of a cup to press it evenly.
Slice the sweet cheese into thin slices and cover the Kataifi on the pan. leave about 1 inch space from the side so that cheese won't touch the side of pan.
Cover the top with the remaining chopped Kataifi. Use the same cup to press it down firmly again.
Place the pan into the preheated oven and bake it for 40-45 minutes or until the color is golden brown.
Remove the pan form the oven and allow it to cool for just couple minutes.
Invert the Knafeh onto your serving dish.
Pour 1/2 of the cooled syrup over the Knafeh (pour up to 2/3 of it if you like it sweeter).
Decorate the top with crushed pistachio and dried rose petals (if using).
Serve Knafeh warm with the remaining syrup on the side.