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Mozzarella Cheese Kunafa Recipe

Knafeh Recipe (Kunafa)

Kunafa is a an iconic Middle Easter dessert made with shredded kataifi dough, a cream filling, a sweet cheese filling and drizzled with simple syrup.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 8
Calories 405kcal


For the Rose Water Simple Sugar Syrup

  • 1 1/4 granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon rose water add more or less according to taste

For the Cream Filling

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon rose water

For the Cheese Filling

  • 300 grams shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon rose water

For the Kunafa Crust

  • 250 grams kunafa dough kataifi, frozen
  • 1/2 cup melted ghee or butter
  • For Garnish
  • Pistachios


To Make the Rose Water Simple Sugar Syrup

  • Add all the ingredients in a medium sized saucepan. Let the sugar dissolve, try not to stir, so as to avoid crystalizing. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the syrup has thickened slightly. Remove from heat, and set aside.

To Make the Cream Filling:

  • In a medium saucepan, combine all the ingredients, and cook on medium heat until slightly thickened. Remove from heat, and set aside.

To Make the Cheese Filling

  • Combine all the ingredients, and mix until well incorporated. Set aside.

To Prepare the Kunafa

  • Preheat oven to 200 C.
  • Grease a round 9 inch baking pan. You can also line the pan with parchment paper, to avoid the kunafa sticking on the bottom of the pan (see notes).
  • Place the kunafa dough in a large bowl, and using your hands, shred the kunafa dough strands into approximately 1 inch pieces.
  • Pour the melted ghee or butter over the kunafa dough, and using your hands, mix well, making sure all the kunafa dough strands are covered with it.
  • Transfer 2/3 of the kunafa dough to the baking pan, and tightly pack it in using the your fingers or the back of a measuring cup. Make sure to create a wall around the sides of the pan.
  • Pour in half of the cooled cream filling, and spread it, but do not spread it right till the edges as it may seep out of the kunafa while baking.
  • Now add the cheese filling and spread.
  • Add the remaining cream filling and spread it evenly.
  • Cover with the remaining kunafa dough and again press so that the kunafa dough is packed. Make sure all edges around the pan are covered with the kunafa dough.
  • Place the pan in the oven and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until the kunafa is golden brown. To check the doneness of the kunafa, insert a knife in the edge and gently lift to see if the kunafa has cooked from the bottom. My kunafa was ready in 45 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven, and immediately pour over the prepared rose water simple sugar syrup, using about 3/4 of it.
  • Let the kunafa rest for 5 to 10 minutes, in order to soak the syrup, and then flip it onto a serving platter.
  • Garnish with crushed pistachios.
  • Cut into wedges, and immediately serve, with reserved sugar syrup.
  • Kunafa is best eaten warm, but is equally delicious at room temperature.


Kataifi Dough: 
Kataifi dough is a shredded phyllo style dough, and is most traditionally used to make Kunafa. An alternate that can be used is shredded thin vermicelli noodles, but it won't yield the same results. Kataifi dough can be easily found in the frozen section of Middle Eastern grocery stores. In non Middle Eastern countries it can be found in the Greek section or Middle Eastern sections of grocery stores.
Can the Cream Filling be Skipped?
Yes, the cream filling is optional in this recipe, and kunafa is often made with just the cheese filling. But I highly recommend this filling because it adds an added softness to the kunafa, and makes it super delicious.
Can Kunafa be Frozen?
Yes kunafa can be easily frozen before being baked. Just prepare all the layers, and then layer the kunafa in your baking pan. Cover well with cling film and aluminum foil, and freeze. When ready to bake, take out the frozen kunafa, let it thaw and then follow the baking instructions in this recipe.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 405kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 407mg | Potassium: 103mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 522IU | Calcium: 237mg | Iron: 1mg