Knafeh, Kunafeh, Kanafeh

Knafeh (Kunafeh), a Middle Eastern Pastry and Cheese Dessert

  • Author: Azlin Bloor
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 20 little portions 1x


Easy Knafeh recipe to make at home using mozzarella and mascarpone. Also spelt as Kunafeh and Kanafeh, it’s a popular Middle Eastern sweet.



  • 300g/10.5oz Kataifi pastry
  • 350g/12oz butter, melted
  • 300g/10.5oz mozzarella
  • 250g/9oz mascarpone
  • 250ml/1 cup rose scented simple syrup
  • 3 tbsp coarsely ground pistachios
  • 12 tbsp dried edible rose petals

Rose Scented Simple Syrup

  • 250ml/1 cup/water
  • 300g/10.5 oz white sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp rose water/orange blossom water



The Simple Syrup

  1. Place the water and sugar in a saucepan and let it come to boil.
  2. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes to thicken.
  3. Take off heat and place on cool hob, then add the lemon juice and rose water and stir.
  4. Cool to room temperature, then place in the fridge until the next day.


  1. Cut into slices and soak in plenty of cool water in a large bowl. Place in the fridge overnight and change the water at least a handful of times in that period.
  2. The water will get cloudy, don’t worry.

Baking Day

  1. Preheat the oven to 190˚C/375˚F.

Prep Work

  1. Place in a food processor and pulse a few times until the Kataifi pastry is all shredded. You might have to do this in 2 go’s.
  2. Place the now shredded pastry in a large bowl and pour most of the melted butter in, leaving some behind.
  3. Using your fingers, mix it all in thoroughly, coating every strand of pastry with the butter.
  4. Add the rest of the butter if needed, mix thoroughly again and set aside as you get to work on your cheese.
  5. Clean the food processor with kitchen paper and place the drained mozzarella in.
  6. Blitz the mozzarella until it’s all diced up and resembles cottage cheese, ie, tiny lumps.
  7. Transfer the mozzarella into a roomy bowl and add the mascarpone in.
  8. Using a wooden spoon beat the two cheeses together until thoroughly combined. This may take a couple of minutes.

Assembly time

  1. Place half the butter soaked pastry into the bottom of your chosen pan and pat down firmly.
  2. Top with all of the cheese mixture.
  3. Top the cheese with the second layer of pastry and pat down firmly but gently, as you don’t want the cheese getting displaced.
  4. Bake in the oven, on the middle shelf, for 35-40 minutes until the pastry is a lovely golden shade.
  5. Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then using a butter knife or something similar, run it through the sides of the knafe to release any pastry and cheese that’s sticking to the dish.
  6. Take your serving plate, place over the baking dish and using your oven gloves or thick tea towel, flip the knafe over onto the serving plate.
  7. Pour the cold syrup all over the knafe until it’s saturated with the syrup and glistening, leaving the rest for serving.
  8. Leave to cool for another 10 minutes, then using a very sharp knife, cut it into little squares (easier than diamond!) by cutting through the pastry with the pointy end of your knife first.
  9. Serve with the leftover syrup in a little jug for those who fancy life extra sweet!
  10. Garnish with the pistachios and petals before or after cutting, completely up to you.
[gallery ids="13050,13054,13052,13055,13051,13047"]


You will need a square baking dish that’s 8″ x 8″ and at least 2″ deep or something similar.
Chopping up the pastry into really small shreds will make for easier cutting after baking.
Total time does not include prep work from the day before.

  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Medium
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern

Keywords: dessert, middle eastern