Sunday, 18 March 2018

Kunafa bil jibn (kunafa with cheese)

If you have had kunafa before, you will understand why I say this is one of the most popular and delicious desserts out there! I have previously made kunafa with qashta (cream), which is just as yummy. But there is something about stretchy sweet cheese with a crispy pastry, drenched in sugar syrup that is just tooooo good to be true!

There are different ways to make kunafa, and I have tried to share a non-complicated, straight forward accessible recipe for you. The two main ingredients that you may struggle with to make this recipe is the kataifi pastry (shredded filo dough) and the akkawi cheese. But, to make it super accessible, I researched and found online shops that sell the kataifi pastry, and used the equally delicious akkawi cheese substitute - mozzarella and ricotta, giving you no excuse to not give this a go! Enjoyyyy :)

  • Skill level: not as complicated as it looks
  • Serves: 10-12 pieces (depending on portion size)
  • Preparation time: 20-30 mins
  • Cooking time: 20 mins
What you will need:

For the sugar syrup
1 + 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
3/4 cup of water
a squeeze of lemon juice

For the kunafa bil jibn
500g worth of drained mozzarella balls
400g kataifi (shredded filo dough)
4-8 tbsp melted ghee
2 tbsp sugar
250g ricotta cheese
ground pistachios for decoration

How to make:

1) Start by preparing the sugar syrup, as you want it cooled down by the time you finish with the kunafa. Add the sugar and water into a pot. Stir over medium heat and bring to a boil. Once the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is vigorously boiling, squeeze the lemon juice and allow to bubble away for a further 30seconds to 1 min. Then turn the heat off and set aside

2) Wash the mozzarella balls and leave to soak whilst you continue preparations

3) Using your hands, break the kataifi into small shreds, the best you can. Add a tbsp of melted ghee to the oven proof pan (I used a 14 inch round pan), spread it evenly. Add 3/4 of the shredded kataifi to the pan. Top with the remaining melted ghee. Mix with your hands to incorporate it

4) Flatten out the pastry very well, ensuring you have given equal amounts of pastry to all sides of the pan, and have flattened out the edges (the more you flatten out and condense the pastry, the better! So put in all your strength and ensure you get a good flat, equal surface)

5) Drain the mozzarella, add 1 tbsp of the sugar and rub into the cheese with your hands to break it down

6) Add the other 1 tbsp of sugar to the ricotta cheese and mix

7) Place the mozzarella cheese and ricotta equally over the pastry, avoiding the edges

8) Top with the remaining kataifi then place into the oven at 220 degrees celsius for 15-20 mins or until the top is golden brown

9) Leave for 5 minutes to rest before turning it over into a larger serving dish (mine was 15 + 1/2 inch). If the top needs more colour (and your serving dish is oven proof), add it for a minute or so under a broiler to give it some colour

10) Pour your sugar syrup over your kunafa, decorate with pistachios and serve

You may wish to eat this warm or cold. Both are so delicious! You may also wish to leave the sugar syrup for individuals to pour over their pieces. Either way, it is that simple and you will be sure to fall in love with it once you give it a go! Enjoy :)

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