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A photo of kunafah from above. The dessert has been decorated with pistachios in the center.


  • Author: No Frills
  • Total Time: 8 hours
  • Yield: 1 medium-sized kunafah 1x


Kunafah is a cheese-based pastry, made with crispy kataifi dough, akawie cheese, and gooey ricotta; all soaked in a rosewater syrup for a sweet finish.


Units Scale
  • 500g Akawie Soft Cheese
  • 1 pkg (454 g) Frozen Arz Kataifi Shredded Dough, thawed
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) ricotta cheese
  • 11/2 cups (375 mL) granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) Arz Rose Water
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) raw unsalted shelled pistachios, chopped


  1. Place akawie cheese in large bowl; add enough cold water to cover. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; refrigerate 6 to 12 hours, changing water at least once. Drain; rinse well. Pat dry. Finely grate akawie cheese on small holes of box grater; set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  3. Place kataifi in separate large bowl; using fingers, separate and loosen strands. Drizzle with butter; toss to coat. Transfer half of the kataifi to greased 9-inch (23 cm) round cake pan with 2-inch (5 cm) high sides, pressing gently into bottom of pan.
  4. Sprinkle akawie cheese over top, spreading evenly. Spread ricotta evenly over top. Add remaining kataifi, spreading evenly and pressing gently into pan. Bake until golden, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool on rack 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, bring sugar, lemon juice and 1 cup water to a boil in small saucepan. Reduce heat to a simmer; cook until thick and syrupy, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool to room temperature. Stir in rose water. Set aside.
  6. Run thin knife around edge of pastry to release from pan. Invert serving platter over top of pastry; turn pan upside down onto platter. Carefully lift away pan. Sprinkle pastry with pistachios. Drizzle three-quarters of the sugar mixture over top. Let stand until absorbed, about 15 minutes. Drizzle with remaining sugar mixture. Let cool to room temperature before slicing.


Akawie cheese is brined, so it’s quite salty. Soaking the cheese in water helps to remove some of the salt; the longer you soak it, the less salty the kunafa will be.

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern

Keywords: kunafah, kinefeh, kunafa, kunafah recipe, kinefeh recipe, kunafa recipe, middle eastern kunafah, middle eastern dessert

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