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This is a tried and true recipe tasted by many.

Kunafa is a popular Middle-East dessert, made by layering shredded phyllo dough with sweet pudding or cheese and drenching it in a sugar syrup. It’s sweet and crunchy and is beloved by many.

Egypt is renowned for its inventive Kunafa creations, featuring variations such as mango kunafa, Nutella kunafa, and kunafa with nuts. They explore numerous ways to enjoy this delightful dessert.

I remember a moment in Paterson, New Jersey, when I stepped into a Turkish bakery that specialized in Egyptian-style kunafa. Curious about this choice, I asked the owner why they opted for this specific variation, considering that Turkish kunafa traditionally features cheese. The owner’s response was insightful: “We offer this style because it has a superior taste and stays fresh for our customers who enjoy desserts throughout the day.”

Kunafa Food Feuds

In the latest episode of Food Feuds, Kickin’ it with Sal takes on the delectable challenge of determining which Middle Eastern country crafts the best Kunafa. With variations from Palestine, Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, and Egypt on the table, the battle of flavors and techniques unfolds.

While every Middle Eastern country brings its unique twist to Kunafa, the spotlight shines on Egypt’s rendition in this Food Feuds episode. The Egyptian style of Kunafa emerges as a standout, showcasing a distinctive approach by using only ashta (pudding) as the filling within the delicate strands of phyllo dough. This singular choice sets Egypt apart from the others, presenting a culinary experience that is both unique and delightful.

The regional variations explored in the episode, including the incorporation of cheese by Turkey, Lebanon, and Palestine, add layers of complexity to the Kunafa landscape. Each country’s cultural influences and traditional ingredients contribute to the rich tapestry of flavors that define their interpretation of this beloved Middle Eastern dessert.

As Food Feuds continues to unravel the mysteries of international cuisine, the battle for the best Kunafa becomes not just a quest for taste supremacy but an exploration of cultural identities expressed through food.

Ingredients:

For the Syrup

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F and melt butter. In a 10-12 in circular baking dish, use some of the butter to pre-grease all over the pan.
  2. Make the Ashta (pudding). In a medium saucepan (NO HEAT YET), combine the whole milk, half and half, sugar and cornstarch and mix until there are no more clumps. Heat up the sauce pan on medium heat. Once the asta starts to bubble and get thicker, remove from heat and let it cool.
  3. Add sugar, water and lemon juice into a pot and heat on medium heat for 10-15mins.
  4. Remove from heat and let it cool down.
  5. Shred the dough into smaller strips,. You can shred it by hand or in a food processor. Add butter to the phyllo dough if it starts to get dry. Once you shredded all of the kunafa dough, add all of the melted butter on it and massage it through the dough.
  6. Layer the kunafa by using your hand to flatten the phyllo dough on the pan. You can use a plate or cup to assist with the flattening process. Next, add the cooled down asta to the kunafa and spread it out. Make sure not to go all the way to the edge or the asha may spill out.
  7. Add another layer of phyllo dough to the top by gently pressing the shredded dough above the asta. Make sure all the ashta is covered an none is spreading out.
  8. Add kunafa to the bottom rack of the oven for 35 mins and then put on the top rack for another 10 mins or until golden brown.
  9. Take the kunafa out of the oven, let it cool for 5 mins and flip it over on a tray. Add nuts for garnish if you like!
  10. Serve and enjoy!

egyptian kunafa

Egyptian Kunafa Recipe

Egyptian style kunafa is a popular Middle-East dessert, made by layering shredded phyllo dough with sweet pudding and drenching it in a sugar syrup. It’s sweet and crunchy and is beloved by many.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine African, Egyptian, Lebanese, middle eastern, palestinian
Servings 5 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb Phyllo Dough, Shredded
  • 12 tbsp Butter About a stick and half
  • 3 cups Whole Milk
  • 1/2 cup Half and Half
  • 3 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanillin
  • 3 tbsp Cornstarch

For the Syrup

  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 & 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 2 & 1/2 cup Water

Instructions
 

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F and melt butter. In a 10-12 in circular baking dish, use some of the butter to pre-grease all over the pan.
  • Make the Ashta (pudding). In a medium saucepan (NO HEAT YET), combine the whole milk, half and half, sugar and cornstarch and mix until there are no more clumps. Heat up the sauce pan on medium heat. Once the asta starts to bubble and get thicker, remove from heat and let it cool.
  • Add sugar, water and lemon juice into a another saucepan and heat on medium heat for 10-15mins.
  • Remove from heat and let it cool down.
  • Shred the dough into smaller strips,. You can shred it by hand or in a food processor. Add butter to the phyllo dough if it starts to get dry. Once you shredded all of the kunafa dough, add all of the melted butter on it and massage it through the dough.
  • Place half of the kunafa, using your hand to flatten it on the pan. You can use a plate or cup to assist with the flattening process. Next, add the cooled down asta to the kunafa and spread it out. Make sure not to go all the way to the edge or the asha may spill out.
  • Add another layer of phyllo dough to the top by gently pressing the shredded dough above the ashta. Make sure all the ashta is covered an none is spreading out.
  • Add kunafa to the bottom rack of the oven for 30 mins and then put on the top rack for another 10 mins or until golden brown.
  • Take the kunafa out of the oven, let it cool for 5 mins and flip it over on a tray. Add nuts for garnish if you like! Serve!
Keyword African Food, Egyptian dessert, Egyptian Food, Kunafa, Middle Eastern Dessert, Middle Eastern Food


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