Cakes, Pastries & Pies > Middle Eastern Recipes > Konafa >
Egyptian pastry in Atar syrup
Filling for Konafa:
4 TBS rice flour (or finely-ground rice)
2 TBS granulated sugar
1/2 C milk plus 2 C milk
1/2 C heavy cream
1 C walnuts or pistachios, shelled & chopped
Syrup for Konafa (known as Atar):
Pastry for Konafa:
1 LB Kataifi (shredded phyllo pastry dough)*
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
Filling: In a bowl, mix together rice flour, sugar and 1/2 cup milk to form a smooth paste. In a saucepan, bring two cups milk to a boil; gradually add the rice paste to boiling milk, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to simmer and stir until mixture is thick. Stir in chopped walnuts or pistachios. Allow milk mixture to cool before adding the heavy cream; mix well and set aside.
Syrup: Add water to a saucepan; dissolve sugar in water over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Bring the 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. Note: Leftover Atar can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks if kept in a sealed container; it can also be used for other desserts and pastries. Oddly enough, the general rule of thumb for usage is to pour hot syrup over cold pastries or to serve cold syrup over hot pastries. Atar is known as Sheerah in Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Trivia Note: In some rural areas, consuming syrup or honey is believed to ward off evil spirits (djinn).
Pastry: Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Separate half of the phyllo pastry strands; pour half of the melted butter over the top. Work pastry so that each strand is coated with butter. Spread pastry on the bottom of a baking dish; pour cream filling on top. Separate second half of the phyllo pastry strands; pour remaining half of melted butter over the top. Work pastry so each strand is coated with butter; place over the top of cream filling in baking dish. Bake for about ten to fifteen minutes or until slightly golden; remove from oven and immediately pour cold Atar syrup over hot Konafa. 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 recipe: Knafeh (Jordanian baked cheese).
*Konafa image (C) Cairocamels B. Simpson (2008). Used under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.
Food Fare Culinary Collection: Arabic Cookery
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