199 – Kanafeh / Konafa – Sweet Cheese Dessert Recipe

Feb 24, 2015 | Desserts

Prep time :

Cook time :

Serves :


Complexity :


Ingredients :


  • 1 cup (236 ml) cold water
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of orange blossom water (or rose water)


  • 1/2 pound (250 grams) of Kataif (shredded phyllo dough)
  • 1 stick (113 grams) of butter
  • 8 oz (250 grams) sweet cheese (example: middle eastern sweet cheese, or mozarella, or ricotta cheese)
  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom water (or rose water)
  • konafa orange/red colorant in powder or orange food colorant

Directions :

Step 1: Making the Simple Syrup
1- Pour the water in a saucepan and add the sugar. Cook on medium heat until the sugar is completed dissolved and the syrup starts bubbling.
2- Once the syrup start bubbling, continue cooking it for another 5 minutes.
3- You will notice the syrup becomes thicker. Add the lemon juice and orange blossom water. You can replace the orange blossom water with rose water.
4- Continue cooking the syrup on medium heat for another 2-3 minutes.
5- Turn off the heat and let the syrup sit while making the konafa.

Step 2: Preparing the Kataif
1- To make the Konafa, we need Kataif, which is basically shredded phyllo dough. You can buy it online or from middle-eastern stores. If you can not find it you can replace it with phyllo dough that you shred.
2- Shred the kataif either by hand or using a food processor. Place the kataif in the food processor and pulse while adding 1/2 cup of melted butter, until you get a shredded smooth kataif that look similar to vermicelli.
3- Place the kataif in a flat pan and cook on medium heat for 4-5 minutes. This step with make them crunchy and brings a nice texture to the konafa (in contrast with the smooth melted cheese).

Step 3: Putting the Konafa Together
1- Another important ingredient in the konafa is the cheese. We need to use a sweet cheese (that is not too salty). You can purchase sweet cheese from a middle eastern store. If you dont find it you could use Morzarella or Ricotta cheese, or a mix of both.
2- Shred the sweet cheese using the the big holes of a grater. Flavor the cheese with orange blossom water or rose water.
3- To assemble the Konafa you will need a baking pan. First, preheat your oven to 350 F degrees (180 C).
4- The top of the Konafa is usually red. This is an optional step you can skip it if you do not want to add colorant.
5- Spread the powdered konafa colorant over the surface of the baking pan using a soft piece of butter. Make sure that the colorant is spread evenly.
6- Place a layer of kataif in the baking pan and even it out using the palm of your hand. Press all over the surface.
7- Add a layer of shredded cheese, then finish with a thin layer of kataif.
8- Bake the Konafa for 45 minutes then broil it for a few minutes until the top of the konafa gets a deep golden brown color.
9- Remove the Konafa from the oven, place a large plate on top of the baking pan, then flip it to transfer the Konafa to the plate. The red surface will be on the top in the plate.
10- You can pour the simple syrup over the Konafa and serve, or you can serve the syrup on the side so that people can add the amount of syrup they want to add to the Konafa.
11- The Konafa can be served hot or cold – but perferably hot so that the cheese is smooth and soft!
Bon Appetit!

Share This