What is Kunafa
Kunafa is a very popular Arabic dessert, especially served during the month of Ramadan. It is actually a sugar-soaked pastry made with kunafa dough. Kunafa dough is made of shredded phyllo dough. Kunafa or Knafeh dough is typically called kataifi dough. Though the exact preparation and the spelling of the name varies by region, most kunafa are layered or filled with either cheese or cream, soaked in a sugar syrup flavoured with rose water or orange blossom water, and then topped with ground nuts like pistachios.
I am sharing a kunafa recipe that is a little different from the original one. I use laccha sewai, a kind of shredded and fried vermicelli commonly available in the Indian subcontinent. The same recipe can be followed if you are using kunafa dough. But for that, you have to shred the dough into short threads.
And for the layer or stuffing, I made a special custard made of cream cheese, milk and mozzarella cheese. The outcome is a wonderfully delighted dessert with the flavour of kewra. You can add orange blossom water or rose water as a flavouring agent.
Preparation time: 20 min
Total cooking time: 45 min
Difficulty level: medium
- 180 g Laccha Sewai (fried Vermicelli)
- 2 teaspoon Ghee or soft unsalted butter
- 1 pinch Saffron colour
- For the stuffing or layer
- 1/2 cup Milk powder
- 1 +1/2 cup Water
- 3 tablespoons Condensed milk
- 3 tablespoons Cream cheese (you can use fresh cream also)
- 3 tablespoons Mozzarella cheese
- 2 teaspoons Cornflour
- 2 tablespoons Milk to mix with cornflour
- 3-4 drops Kewra water
- 2-3 tablespoon crushed assorted Nuts
- For Sugar syrup
- 1/2 cup granulated Sugar
- 3/4 cup Water
- 2 drops kewra water
- For garnishing
- 2 Cherry
- Crushed nuts as needed
- Mint leaves as needed(optional)
- Soft butter or ghee to grease the kunafa plate
Take laccha sewai in a bowl, add ghee or butter and a pinch of saffron colour.
With your finger tips mix well so that butter incorporate with sewai well. Keep aside.
In a saucepan add 1/2 cup of full fat milk powder and 1+1/2 cup of water.
Mix and bring to boil. Add condensed milk. Reduce the heat.
Mix well and then add cream cheese or cream and stir well.
Mix cornflour with 2 tablespoon of milk and add to the milk mixture.
Stir continuously so that the mixture wo’nt stick to the bottom. Keep flame in medium low heat.
The mixture will start thickening. Add 3-4 drops of kewra water.
In the meantime the mixture will be thicken to a saucy consistency.
Add mozzarella cheese at last, mix and remove from heat.
Keep the mixture aside to become cool.
Take a round 7 inch sized baking pie dish or tin and grease with butter.
Place half of the prepared sewai/kunafa at the bottom of the plate to make a layer.Press with your fingers so that sewai sets tightly at the bottom. Keep sides little up as shown in the picture.
Now make a layer of the milk and cheese custard (cold).
Sprinkle some crushed assorted nuts over the layer.
Top with the remaining sewai/kunafa. Spread them carefully over the milk mixture so that there remains no gap.
Bake the kunafa in a preheated oven at 180 degree C for about 30 minutes or until the top becomes nice golden brown. I bake with both the rod of oven on at first. After 15 minutes I off the upper rod and baked with only lower rod on.
In the meantime for sugar syrup take 1/2 cup of sugar and 3/4th cup of water in a pan and bring to boil.
Add 2 drops of kewra water and cook for 5 minutes to make a thin syrup.
My kunafa is ready after 30 minutes of baking. It’s colour will be darker after sometimes because of it’s heat.
Add warm sugar syrup over the hot kunafa. Keep some syrup in a cup for serving.
Garnish kunafa with some crushed nuts, cherries and mint leaf.
Serve warm or at room temperature with sugar syrup at the side.