Indulgent Kunafa With Creamy Dream: A Delicious Twist On The Classic

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Kunafa, a heavenly dessert with its golden-crisp crust and gooey cheese center, is a staple across the Middle East and beyond. This recipe takes a delightful twist on the classic by incorporating the rich tang of cream cheese, creating a flavor explosion that will tantalize your taste buds.


How To Make Kunafa  Cream Cheese Kunafa Recipe
How To Make Kunafa Cream Cheese Kunafa Recipe

For the Kanafeh Dough:

  • 1 cup (225g) semolina flour
  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup (50g) powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

  • For the Filling:

  • 1 (400g) package shredded phyllo dough, thawed
  • 1 (14oz) container plain cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50g) chopped pistachios
  • 2 tablespoons orange flower water (optional)

  • For the Syrup:

  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (240ml) water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon rose water (optional)

  • Making the Kanafeh Dough:

    1. In a large bowl, combine the semolina flour, melted butter, powdered sugar, and cardamom. Using your fingertips, rub the ingredients together until a crumbly dough forms. Set aside.

    Preparing the Filling:

    1. In a separate bowl, beat together the softened cream cheese and granulated sugar until smooth and creamy.
    2. Fold in the chopped pistachios and orange flower water (if using).

    Assembling the Kunafa:

    1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a shallow baking dish (approximately 9×13 inches).
    2. Shredding the Phyllo Dough: Working quickly, shred the thawed phyllo dough using your fingertips into thin strands. You can also use a food processor with the shredding attachment for this step.
    3. Layering the Kunafa: Divide the shredded phyllo dough roughly in half. Spread half of the dough evenly across the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
    4. Adding the Filling: Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the first layer of phyllo dough.
    5. Topping with Remaining Dough: Sprinkle the remaining shredded phyllo dough over the cream cheese filling, ensuring it covers the entire surface.

    Baking the Kunafa:

    1. Bake the kunafa for 40-45 minutes, or until the top layer becomes golden brown and crispy.

    Making the Syrup:

    1. While the kunafa is baking, in a saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and lemon juice. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves.
    2. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in rose water (if using).

    Finishing Touches:

    1. Once the kunafa is golden brown and crispy, remove it from the oven and let it cool slightly (around 10 minutes).
    2. Using a ladle, slowly drizzle the warm syrup over the entire surface of the kunafa, allowing it to soak in.


    This Kunafa with Cream Cheese recipe offers a delightful twist on the classic dessert. The combination of the crispy phyllo dough, the rich and creamy filling, and the fragrant syrup creates an irresistible taste sensation. It’s perfect for special occasions, potlucks, or simply to satisfy your sweet tooth.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

    1. Can I substitute the cream cheese with another type of cheese?

    Yes, you can! Ricotta cheese or mozzarella cheese are good alternatives. However, the flavor and texture will differ slightly.

    2. My phyllo dough is tearing. What can I do?

    Phyllo dough can be delicate. Thaw it completely in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before using. Additionally, work quickly to prevent it from drying out. You can cover the dough with a damp cloth while shredding to maintain moisture.

    3. Do I have to use orange flower water?

    Orange flower water adds a floral aroma to the dessert. It’s optional, but it elevates the flavor profile. You can find it in most Middle Eastern grocery stores or online retailers.

    4. Can I make this kunafa ahead of time?