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

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Kunafa, a rich and decadent dessert with origins in the Middle East, is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Layers of crispy shredded phyllo dough (also known as kataifi) encase a sweet cheese filling, traditionally made with Nabulsi cheese. This recipe offers a delicious twist, incorporating the creamy goodness of cream cheese for a truly unforgettable experience.

Before we delve into the delightful world of kunafa making, let’s understand the magic behind the ingredients.

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


Phyllo Dough (Kataifi): The star of the show! Phyllo dough is a paper-thin unleavened dough that gets baked into a beautiful, crispy golden shell. You’ll typically find it pre-shredded in the frozen section of Middle Eastern grocery stores.

  • Cream Cheese: The creamy substitute for Nabulsi cheese. Opt for full-fat cream cheese for the best results. Soften it at room temperature for easier mixing.
  • Sugar: Adds sweetness to the cheese filling. Granulated white sugar works perfectly.
  • Orange Flower Water: This fragrant floral water is a key ingredient in Middle Eastern desserts. It adds a subtle floral citrus aroma that complements the creamy cheese filling. Note: You can substitute with rose water if orange flower water isn’t available.
  • Butter: Melted butter is used to coat the phyllo dough, creating that signature flaky texture. Opt for unsalted butter for more control over the overall sweetness.
  • Pistachios: Chopped pistachios add a delightful textural contrast and a nutty flavor to the dessert.
  • Aromatic Syrup (Ater): This fragrant syrup is drizzled over the kunafa after baking, soaking into the crispy layers and adding a touch of sweetness. You can find pre-made ater at Middle Eastern grocery stores, or make your own simple syrup flavored with rosewater or orange flower water (recipe included below).

  • Optional Ingredients:

    Ashta: This clotted cream, popular in Middle Eastern desserts, can be used as an extra layer of creamy richness.

  • Shredded Phyllo Dough: If kataifi isn’t available, you can substitute with store-bought shredded phyllo dough. However, kataifi creates a finer, crispier texture.

  • Directions:

    1. Prepare the Filling: In a large bowl, combine softened cream cheese, sugar, and orange flower water (or rose water) using an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Set aside.

    2. Prep the Phyllo Dough: Thaw the frozen kataifi according to package instructions. If using shredded phyllo dough, separate the strands gently to avoid tearing.

    3. Melt the Butter: In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the unsalted butter. Keep an eye on it to prevent burning.

    4. Assemble the Kunafa: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a baking dish suitable for the amount of kataifi you’re using.

    5. Layer the Dough: Divide the kataifi roughly into two portions. Gently spread out half the kataifi in the prepared baking dish, making sure to press it down to create a compact base. Drizzle generously with melted butter, ensuring all the strands are coated.

    6. Add the Filling: Spread the prepared cream cheese filling evenly over the buttered kataifi layer.

    7. Top with Dough: Gently spread the remaining kataifi over the cream cheese filling, covering it completely. Drizzle generously with the remaining melted butter.

    8. Bake the Kunafa: Bake the kunafa for 30-35 minutes, or until the top layer turns golden brown and crispy. Keep an eye on it to prevent burning.

    9. Make the Syrup (Optional): While the kunafa bakes, you can prepare a simple syrup. In a saucepan, combine equal parts water and sugar (e.g., 1 cup each). Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from heat and stir in a splash of orange flower water or rose water.

    10. Serve and Enjoy: Once the kunafa is golden brown and crispy, remove it from the oven. Let it cool slightly for about 10 minutes before cutting. Drizzle generously with warm syrup (if using) and sprinkle with chopped pistachios. Serve warm and savor the delicious combination of crispy phyllo, creamy cheese, and a touch of sweetness.

    Nutrition Facts (Per Serving):

    Note: This is an approximate nutritional breakdown and will vary depending on the exact ingredients and portion size.

    Calories: 450-500

  • Fat: 25-30g