Knafeh is a Middle Eastern cheese dessert soaked in sugar syrup. It is usually served for breakfast over a sesame seed bun. There are so many recipes for Knafeh and this one was given to me by my friend Abir. I tried it and fell in love with it because the result was amazing!!!
Farik is the top crust of the Knafeh; it’s the one that becomes golden when baked and inverted over a cake plate. This recipe makes 2 large Knafeh size round pans. For best results, use pans with low edge.
Ingredients for the Farik:
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup farina
- 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups sugar syrup, concentrated (prepared in advance) see below.
- 1/4 cup powdered milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup chopped pistachio nuts for garnish, optional.
Method to prepare the sugar syrup:
- Combine 4 cups granulated sugar and 1 1/2 cup water in a sauce pan.
- Heat through till dissolved.
- Add 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Boil mixture till thickened.
- Add 1 teaspoon orange blossom water and set aside to cool completely.
- Measure 2 cups cooled syrup to use in making the Knafeh Farik and save the rest in a container for future use.
Method for the Knafeh Farik:
- In a large bowl, mix all Farik dry ingredients together.
- Add melted butter, water and 2 cups cooled sugar syrup; mix well.
- Line a large baking pan with parchment paper, add the mixture and bake in a preheated 375 degrees oven for 10 minutes.
- Fluff it with a fork to separate the dough. Bake extra time if needed.
- The mixture should not be doughy; You can see that most moisture has evaporated. Let cool completely.
- Once the Farik/dough has cooled, place in batches in food processor and pulse till its texture resembles raw sugar.
Ingredients for The Cheese Mixture:
- 2 cups fresh mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon mastic mixed with 1 teaspoon sugar, optional
- 1/3 cup farina (cream of wheat)
Cooking The Cheese and Assembling the Knafeh:
- Chop the fresh mozzarella in a food processor till it resembles a coarse meal. Set aside.
- In a medium heavy saucepan, heat the milk over medium-high heat until it is hot, but not boiling. Add the farina and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture is slightly thickened. Add the mastic mixed with 1 teaspoon sugar.
- Combine fresh and shredded mozzarella and add to the farina mixture.
- Line a large round baking pan with parchment paper; place half the farik/dough in bottom and press with the palm of your hand.
- Pour cheese mixture over and smooth it.
- Place in a pre-heated oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the knafeh’s color turns golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes.
- Invert the knafeh onto a platter so the farik part is on top. Drizzle it with 1/4 cup syrup and serve some on the side for your guests if they want more syrup.
- Sprinkle some chopped pistachios over it if you wish.
2 cups sugar syrup; add it to all the dry ingredients and
The mixture before baking; lay it flat in baking pan, press it with the palm of your hand and bake for 10-15 minutes.
What Farik should look like after baking and processing to small pieces in food processor.
Line a large round baking pan with parchment paper, place a 1/2 inch thickness of Farik on bottom then the cheese mixture over it.
Preheat oven to 375 degree F and bake pan till the crust is golden. Once ready, turn the pan over a flat serving platter and drizzle some sugar syrup over it.
The bottom of the Knafeh becomes the top; it should be golden brown and looks delicious!