Middle eastern delight or call it Labanese speciality, Cheese Kunafa.... Like the oozy cheese, the thought of it just melts my heart and takes me back in time to those childhood days when dad picked some freshly baked hot Cheese Kunafa for us on the way back home from office, and we sisters pounced over, just to have that warm chunk of spun wheat topped over and smothered with molten cheese, dripping with rose flavored sugar syrup. Yummmm...And now years later, nothing much has changed except, my dad's retirement and that, from the time I learnt to actually make this dessert at home it's having and additional advantage of allowing yourself to surrender into that sweet aroma which engulfs the house through the baking process. Pouncing for that bite pretty much remains unperturbed. :)
This post would have come up much earlier had it not been my choosy mind, looking for the perfect click. Out of the umpteen times I baked it and even more number of clicks even this was rejected by me. Until a close friend convinced me that, this is it! Looks good tastes great! just post it!!! So here it is.
In a hurry I just forgot to click those step by step method pics. Will surely click and upload it on the next go. But its not that complicated really. All you need is the Kunafa dough also known as Kataifi dough, once you have it, rest of the ingredients are usually home. I used Sunbulah Kunafa dough easily available in Middle eastern Supermarket and hypermarkets. And the assembling is nothing but mix of shredded mozzarella and cottage cheese sandwiched between kunafa dough layers.
There you go have a look....
The more juicier, the merrier.....
Have some syrup handy, is what I would suggest. Drizzle as per taste.
Once out of the oven you can pour over the previously prepared rose flavored sugar syrup on the full Kunafa or could be poured over individual slices while serving as well.
- For the Sugar syrup:-
- Granulated white sugar- 1 cup
- Water- 3/4 cup
- Lemon juice- 1 tsp
- Rose water or orange blossom water- 1 tsp
- For the Kunafa:-
- Kunafa dough (kataifi dough)- 250 gms (shredded)
- Mozzarella cheese - 250 gm
- Ricotta cheese or cottage cheese- 60 gm (1/2 cup)
- Milk- 1/4 cup
- Melted unsalted butter- 6 tbsp (lukewarm)
- Pistachio- (ground or slivered) - 2 tbsp.
- For greasing the pan:-
- Butter for greasing the pan- 1 tsp
- Kunafa pastry coloring or orange food color - 1/2tsp
- 1If the cheese is salty you will first need to desalt it. Cut the Mozzarella cheese into 1 inch cubes and soak in water and refrigerate for about 6 hours, changing water twice at intervals. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Shred and combine with ricotta or cottage cheese. Keep aside. (you can skip this step if your mozzarella cheese isn't salty)
- 2Thaw the frozen Kunafa dough and bring it to room temperature.
- 3In a saucepan boil sugar, water and lemon juice in medium heat for 10 mins. Turn off the heat and add the rose water. Allow to cool completely.
- 4Rub butter and color onto the bottom and sides of an 8 inch round baking tin. (I used my flan tin)
- 5Cut the kunafa dough into two parts, shred it with hands to make it fluffy. Add the milk and butter evenly and toss gently making sure there are no lumps and the kunafa dough is still fluffy. You need to be quick at assembling to avoid lumping of the dough.
- 6Take the butter-color greased tin. Place 2/3 of the kunafa dough, press down and along the sides of the tin, in a way that the dough coats the bottom and sides to form a kunafa tin shape.
- 7Place all of the cheese over the kunafa coated tin, press down to level.
- 8Now cover it up with the remaining 1/3 kunafa dough, press well, in a way to seal the cheese and level the top.
- 9Bake in preheated oven at 170 Deg C for 40 mins. Let the Kunafa cool for 10 mins before inverting it onto a serving tray.
- 10Sprinkle ground or slivered pistachios on the top. You can pour the sugar syrup over the whole Kunafa or pour over individual servings. This dessert is best served warm. In fact it has to be served warm, in order to bite into molten cheese sandwiched between sweet kunafa layers. Blissfully yummmm