Künefe is similar desert like Kadayif and originates from Lebanon. Many soldiers were sent to Yemen near to the end of the Ottoman Empire to end some riots in the area. On the way back, some soldiers stayed in Lebanon to learn this desert. Now, it is a traditional desert in southeastern Turkey, Hatay region. A semi-soft cheese is used in the filling. In making the künefe, cheese is put in between two layers of wire Kadayif. It is cooked in small copper plates, and then served very hot in syrup with clotted cream and topped with pistachios or walnuts.

A simple recipe is as follows:


300 gram shredded phyllo dough/kadayif

300 gram fresh milk cheese

125 gram butter

2 tablespoons molasses


400 milliliters water

400 gram sugar

1/4 lemon’s juice

For syrup: Start with preparing the syrup as it needs to cool. Prepare the syrup by putting the water and sugar in a small pot. Mixing occasionally will be enough. When the water boils add; a quarter of a lemon’s juice. After 10 minutes close the heat and set aside to cool.

For pastry: Spread the kadayif /phyllo threads with your fingers. Then cut to 1 cm thick pieces. Melt the butter. Spread the butter in your oven tray. Also add a tablespoon of molasses all around. Sprinkle half of the kadayif on your over tray. Press down the kaday?f with the palm of your hand or with the back of a glass or a bowl. Sprinkle with some butter. Grate the cheese and spread it on top of the kadayif that you have pressed down. Leave about a centimeter in the corners without cheese, so they don’t come out when cooked. On top spread the remaining kadayif. Again press down. On top pour the remaining butter and the second tablespoon of molasses. Cook in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees until brownish on top and bottom. Cooks very quickly about 15-20 degrees. As soon as you take the künefe out of the oven pour the syrup gently all over. Serve warm.  A tablespoon of clotted cream or a vanilla ice cream will be a perfect companion. Also sprinkle some grounded pistachio.


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