Kunafeh is a traditional middle eastern dessert which is prepared with roasted vermicelli. The vermicelli (semolina dough) is soaked in sugar syrup and layered with cheese and topped with pistachio or any other dry fruit of your choice. I grew up in Muscat eating loads of Baklava and I initially intended to recreate that at home. However, my plans were shattered as I could not get my hands-on phyllo pastry sheets and hence landed on Kunafeh as my next most favourite option. Actually, at times I prefer eating Kunafeh as it has a perfect balance of sweet and savoury. Also, one can control how sweet they want their dessert to be, even after its cooked and ready to eat. Ain’t that a fun fact? So, let’s dive in and get dessert-ing!
Roasted Semolina – 300 gms
Butter – 6 tbps
Cream cheese – 70 gms
Mozzarella cheese – 2 cubes
For sugar syrup:
Water – 1 cup
Sugar – ½ cup
Lemon juice – ¼ tsp
Roast the semolina if you have bought raw ones, or else, skip this step. Add the butter to the roasted semolina and mix them well. Keep aside.
Heat 1 cup of water and then add ½ cup sugar to it. Boil the mixture till all the sugar dissolves and the syrup has thickened. Add the lemon juice after taking it off the heat. This would prevent the sugar syrup from crystalizing once cooled.
Mix the cream cheese and mozzarella cheese well.
Grease ramekins or some steel cups (in case you don’t have ramekins) and layer them with the buttered semolina. Press the bottom layer down with the back of a spoon. Top the semolina with a generous layer of cheese. Cover the cheesy layer with another layer of semolina. Prepare 3-4 such ramekins in the same manner.
Heat a heavy bottomed pan on medium-low for 6-7 mins with the lid on. Place the ramekins inside the heated pan and cook covered for the next 20-25 mins.
Once cooled a little you may demould it or chose to serve the Kunafeh as it is. Pour the warm sugar syrup as per taste and decorate with some chopped nuts. Voila! Have a sweet evening!
Tips to remember:
Chose thin version of vermicelli for this recipe
Use all the ingredients at room temperature preferably
If you have made more in quantity as required, you may choose to refrigerate it. Warm ad serve before consumption
You may also choose to bake the Kunafeh in a microwave oven. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees C and bake for 15 mins
Middle Eastern Dessert - Kunafeh
Omanis consume kunafeh as a dessert and also along with Kehwa (black coffee)