Kunafa is a syrup-soaked pastry that is common in a number of Arabic countries and territories, especially during Ramadan. Though the exact preparation and the spelling of the name varies by region, most kunafa are layered or filled with either a sweet cheese or cream (kishta), soaked in a sugar syrup flavored with rose water or orange blossom water, and then topped nuts and a simple syrup
Although there’s many varieties of Kunafa-ranging from the outside texture to the inside filling and flavor of the simple syrup on top (a’tar) this recipe and combination is my favorite (both cheese and cream filling)! This was pretty simple and fun to make, not to mention DELICIOUS!!! you will not be disappointed!!! Make these for your next Ramadan iftar and they will be a hit!
Serving size makes 24 kunafa cups
Ingredients for simple syrup:
— 1 cup of sugar
–1/2 cup water
-juice of half a lemon
-optional: 1 teaspoon rose water or orange blossom water
-Ricotta 7 oz
-Puck Cream 6 oz–you can also use the nestle media crema found in local stores like walmart, target
-Sweet Cheese 5 oz
-Fresh Mozzarella 6 oz
– 1 pack of Kunafa ( I used the apollo katafi brand)
-1 stick of unsalted melted butter
-red food dye/gel
Start by making the simple syrup. On the stove in a small pot combine the water and sugar as well as the lemon juice and keep stirring it on medium heat until the sugar completely dissolves and thickens. Place a teaspoon of rose water and stir it in. It will take about 15 minutes for it to get to the proper thickness level. If you like it a little more on the runny side, Take it off the heat and reserve it on the side sooner.
Place all 3 cheeses and cream in a bowl and whisk with a hand mixer until they’re all well combined.
In another bowl, take the Kunafa out of the package and break it up until you get 1 inch pieces. Mix the butter in and make sure it gets to all the pieces. Mix it with your hand mixer to make sure all the pieces evenly have butter on them. Add about 8-9 drops of red food coloring/gel. make sure it’s evenly mixed throughout. Add more coloring if you want it to be a darker orange color.
Grab your cupcake tray and place a heaping spoonful of the kunafa mix into each slot. Press down with a cup to make sure it’s taken the proper form. Place a tablespoon full of the creamy cheese mixture in the center–be careful not to let it run onto the sides. It will burn and look dark when you take it out. Place another layer of the kunafa mix on top (DO NOT press hard–if you press hard the cheese mixture will run onto the side and burn) try your best to cover the cheese while not letting it flatten and disperse onto the sides. pat it down gently.
Place your tray in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the top looks like its hardening and turning a golden color.
Take your tray out and let it cool, then place it onto a a flat baking tray and flip it upside down and remove the cupcake tray. None of the kunafa’s should stick since you used butter! Cover the tops of the kunafas with crushed pistachios and simple syrup.
Serve the Kunafa warm and with tea!