Anyone visiting Lebanon, learns it is a must to try Knefeh: A sort of a cheese (or cream) pie, served in a special kind of bread with syrup.
Knefeh is usually eaten for breakfast, where pastry shops offer it hot on big trays from which they serve their customers.
Knefeh has another variation, made with ashta or clotted cream.
Also, this kind of sweets is pretty easy to make and people have had several versions they make at home. Today I am posting as a challenge Knefeh from scratch; even the dough of it (called Mafroukeh), that represents the crunchy part.
I found a recipe for both online and I am pasting here with the link.
Recipe for Mafroukeh with some specifications added (found on this site):
- 3 cups of coarse semolina (smeed).
- 1 cup butter or margarine.
- 1 cup sugar.
- 1/4 cup of water.
- Mix all the ingredients together.
- Put them all in a tray.
- Put the tray in the oven for a few minutes until it dries.
- Rub it until it becomes soft and smooth.
- When you want to make any recipe, mix the dough first with some butter and put it at the bottom of a tray(30cm) cover it very well, press little bit until it sticks, and then continue what you want to do.
Now for the Knefeh itself, also I added some specifications (found on this site):
- 1/2 kg ready knefeh dough, or mafroukeh (recipe above)
- 200 g butter
- 500 g Akkawi cheese, or any other unsalted cheese (Mozzarella could work
- 1/2 cup ferkha (fine semolina) flour – regular flour could work
- 3 cups sugar
- 3 teaspoons rosewater
- 3 teaspoons orange blossom water
- 1 teaspoons lemon juice
- Soak the Akkawi cheese in water for 24 hours. Make sure to change the water 4 to 5 times.We want the cheese to lose all its salt.
- For the syrup, dissolve the sugar in 1 1/2 cups of water in a saucepan over medium heat. Then add in the rosewater and orange blossom water and stir until the mixture starts boiling. Turn off the heat and keep aside. (I prefer that the rosewater and the orange blossom water to be added right before the heat is turned off under the syrup. Without any would work too)
- Spread the knafeh dough in a baking pan forming a layer of around 1.5 cm in thickness. Bake the pan in the oven on medium heat, until the bottom and the sides turn golden.
- Cut the cheese into small cubes and place it in a saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the water oozes out. Discard the water that comes out.
- Add in the flour and ½ cup of the syrup and mix. When the cheese mixture starts boiling, remove from heat and pour over the baked knafeh dough.
- Place a large serving dish over the knafeh pan and turn the pan upside down. Lift up the pan then cut the obtained knafeh, which is now on the serving dish, into squares.
- Serve the knafeh pieces with the remaining syrup.