Knafeh also spelled as kanafeh, Knafe, kunafa or knafa originated in the Palestinian city of Nablus in the modern-day West Bank, where it is filled with Nabulsi cheese. Another name for knafeh is knafeh Nabulsiyye. It plays a central role in Palestinian cuisine and is the most famous throughout the Arab world.

Kanafeh is also found in the Balkans and is a feature of Turkish, Greek, and Levantine cuisine.

Knafeh is made by drizzling a row of thin streams of flour-and-water batter onto a turning hot plate, so they dry into long threads resembling shredded wheat. The threads are then collected into skeins.

Knafeh dough comes in three types:
  • khishneh (Arabic خشنه) "rough", consisting of kadaif pastry, which looks like long thin noodle threads.
  • na'ama (Arabic ناعمة) "fine", consisting of small pieces of semolina clustered together.
  • mhayara (ِِArabic محيرة): which is a mixture of both khishneh and naa'ama.
The pastry is heated with some butter, margarine or palm oil for a while and then spread with soft cheese (see Nabulsi cheese) and more pastry; or the khishneh knafah is rolled around the cheese. A thick syrup, consisting of sugar, water and a couple of drops of lemon juice, is poured on the pastry during the final minutes of cooking.

Kunafa Recipe:

  • 1 package of shredded fillo dough
  • 1/2 pound of butter melted
  • 2 lbs ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • First step is to defrost the Fillo dough. Do this by shredding the fillo in a bowl continuously till completelly defrosted.
  • Once this occurs, you start adding the butter while continuously shredding the dough. When this process is complete and the dough is shredded thoroughly, seperate the dough into two equal portions.
  • In a well buttered pan, spread out the dough thoroughly, but do not compress. Once the dough is spread evenly, start preparing the ricotta cheese. Lay the cheese patties onto the prepared dough in the pan. Once the layer of ricotta cheese is completely covering the dough, lay the second half of the dough unto the cheese so that it is evenly distrubuted.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, then place the pan in the middle for approxiametly 45 minutes. What you need to look for, is that the dough browns. Once achieved, you will need a larger pan in which you will flip the Knefeh so the the bottom is on top and vice versa. Bake again till the browning occurs on the adjacent side. Once browned on both sides, the Knafe is finished.
Knafeh Video: Making Knafe in Nablus

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