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5 from 2 votes

Knafeh Middle Eastern Pastry

Knafeh is a rich Middle Eastern pastry made from shredded tendrils of pastry dough and sweet cheese, topped with syrup and chopped nuts.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course: desserts
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Servings: 12
Author: Kevin


  • 16 oz Kataifi shredded filo dough
  • 1 1/4 cup ghee melted (or butter)
  • 1 tsp Kunafa powdered pastry coloring optional
  • 16 oz mozzarella shredded, or Akawi Cheese (sweet cheese)
  • 1 cup pistachios crushed



  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Mix 1 teaspoon Kunafa powdered pastry coloring, if using, with melted ghee/butter. Grease the bottom and sides of 9-inch knafeh pan, pie pan, or springform cake pan with 1 tablespoon of the ghee/butter and set aside.
  • Remove kataifi from the package, place in a large bowl and use scissors to cut into 1-inch pieces or place on cutting board and cut, then place into a large bowl.
  • Pour melted ghee/butter over kataifi and mix until all pieces are coated (if using pastry coloring, use gloves), optional.
  • Place half of the buttered kataifi into the baking dish, and with gloved hand press firmly to cover, or use the bottom of a measuring cup.
  • Sprinkle the mozzarella or chopped akawai cheese and cover the kataifi layer in pan.
  • Sprinkle remaining kataifi on top of the cheese and press gently. Using a rubber spatula or butter knife, gently push the kataifi on the edges of the pan down around rim of dish.
  • Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top of the knafeh is golden brown and butter is bubbling up the side of the pan.
  • While knafeh is baking make the syrup. Add the water and sugar to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes to reduce and thicken slightly. Remove from heat and add the orange (or rose) water and lemon juice. Stir and set aside to cool.
  • Remove knafeh from oven and let cool 5 minutes. Run the rubber spatula or butter knife around the edges to loosen any stuck bits and place a larger serving plate on top. Holding both pans, invert and gently lift pan off.
  • Pour half of the syrup over the knafeh and sprinkle crushed pistachios in any design pattern you wish on top. Slice and serve with remaining syrup on side, best warm.



Calories: 409kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 316mg | Potassium: 124mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 224IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 155mg | Iron: 1mg