Appetizers > Middle Eastern Recipes > Knafeh >
Jordanian baked cheese
1 LB Kataifi (shredded phyllo pastry dough)*
8 to 12 ounces white cheese (akkawieh or ricotta)
1/2 C ghee (clarified butter)
1/2 tsp. orange food coloring (optional)
1 C shelled pistachio nuts, diced
Syrup for Knafeh (also known as Atar):
2 C granulated sugar
1 C cold water
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 TBS orange blossom water or rosewater
Syrup: Add water to a saucepan; dissolve sugar in water over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Bring mixture to a boil; add lemon juice and boil over medium-low heat for about twelve minutes. Do not stir once syrup begins to boil as the action will make syrup cloudy. Add the orange blossom water or rosewater; boil for thirty seconds. Remove from heat. When syrup has cooled, the consistency should appear similar to thin honey. Set aside and allow to cool before using.
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F. Place shredded phyllo dough in a large bowl; separate strands by hand. Combine butter and food coloring in a saucepan, stir until butter melts. Gradually add butter mixture to shredded phyllo dough; mix well by hand after each addition until the dough appears orange in color. Place half the dough in a greased baking dish; press firmly. Arrange cheese on top; place second half of dough over the cheese. Bake for about twenty to twenty-five minutes; remove from oven and pour about one cup of prepared syrup over the top. Sprinkle with diced pistachios; cut into squares or triangles and serve.
*Note: Kataifi (shredded phyllo pastry dough) can be obtained at most Greek or Middle Eastern specialty shops. It can also be ordered online at Amazon or Athens Foods, among others.
Similar Recipes: Knafeh with Atar syrup is also a common dish in Lebanon. The dish has a similar variation in Egypt as well, where it known as Konafa and prepared using rice.
*Knafeh image (C) ToastieIL (2006). Used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation and Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licenses.
Food Fare Culinary Collection: Arabic Cookery
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