I love a simple, creamy cheese Kunafa and I am sure most of you all do too!
Being born and raised in the middle east, Kunafa was a sweet delicacy that we really enjoyed as kids. They were and still are a must-have after a meal, at any Arabic Mandi restaurant.
Firas Sweets, one of the oldest sweet shops in Dubai is known for serving the best, authentic Kunafa. Places like these, increased our love for this traditional sweet delicacy. Nowadays, Kunafa is a dessert that is enjoyed by people worldwide.
You will be surprised at how easy these truly are when it comes to making it by yourself, at home. I have made them countless times and they are always a winner at any gathering. Let’s just say, not many can resist a good, freshly made Kunafa!
I am lucky to be living in a country where I can find Kunafa (Kataifi) dough easily in the freezer section of any major supermarket. Depending on where you live, I suggest searching for them at your local, middle eastern grocery or get them online.
If you still don’t get your hands on them, do try making Kunafa dough at home. I personally never tried, but there are many Youtube demonstration videos that show how you can make it quick and easily. Here’s one recipe that I came across.
Vermicelli is used often as an alternative, but I highly recommended to stick to Kunafa dough for making this recipe. It’s just authentic and tastes much better, in my opinion.
How to make a Traditional Cheese Kunafa?
I have always tried being creative with Kunafa. My Gulab Jamun in Kunafa Nests and Chocolate Grill-O-Nafa are some of my favourite recipes on this blog. They’re also some of my most viewed recipes too!
But let’s admit it, a traditional, classic cheese Kunafa never goes out of style. I make them using plain fresh cream, shredded Mozzarella and homemade sugar syrup, sometimes infused with rose or orange blossom.
Nabulsi or Akkawi cheese are even more authentic Arabic cheeses which can be used as the stuffing. I have noticed that they are not as easy to find. So for this recipe I’ll stick to mozzarella, which I personally think tastes pretty great too!
You must try them at home and see for yourself. I am in no doubt that you are going to love this Kunafa recipe!
RECIPE for Creamy, Cheese Kunafa:
Classic Cheese KunafaCourse: DessertsDifficulty: Easy
250gm Kunafa Dough
1 cup melted ghee or butter
200ml fresh cream (or as needed)
100gm shredded mozzarella cheese (or as needed)
- For the Sugar Syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
1 Tsp lemon juice
Optional: 1 Tsp orange blossom water or rose water
- After your frozen Kunafa dough is thawed, add and pulse it in a food processor to shred the dough at approximately 1cm length per strand. Ensure not to powder it. You can also do this step manually using a pair of scissors.
- Transfer shredded kunafa dough into a large bowl. Pour over the melted ghee or butter, and using your hands, rub the ghee on all the kunafa strands evenly.
- You can bake your Kunafa or make it on your stove top. Both these methods are just as good. If you are baking then, get a large round baking pan and if you prefer on the stove top, then get a non-stick frying pan. You may lightly grease pan if required.
- Assemble half of your kunafa dough onto the pan and using the back of a measuring cup or a large spoon, press the kunafa firmly into an even layer. Follow this by adding a layer of fresh cream and mozzarella cheese. You may adjust the quantity of the filling to your taste and pan size. Cover the top with the rest of the Kunafa dough and press it well.
- If baking; Bake at 180°C in the middle rack for about 20mins or until the sides start to turn brown and then lift it up and bake until it has a perfectly golden brown top. Remove from oven and let it cool for about 5mins before inverting the pan to a serving plate.
- If Pan-frying on the stovetop, I suggest using a small-medium sized frying pan so that it is easy to flip the kunafa when cooking. You can make around 2-3 kunafas with this recipe quantity. Cook the kunafa on low flame for about 5-8mins each side or until both the sides turns golden brown. Transfer to a serving plate when done.
- Prepare the Sugar syrup and pour over the Kunafa
- In a saucepan, add sugar and water and keep mixing until the sugar dissolves. Let it come to a boil and add in the lemon juice. Let this mixture continue boiling for another 10mins until it starts to thicken slightly. Remove from heat and add in orange blossom water or rose water, if preferred.
- Allow the sugar syrup to cool a little and pour over the freshly baked/cooked Kunafa. You can decorate it with crushed pistachios or dried rose buds. Enjoy!