April 21, 2020

Kanafeh, Kenafeh, Knafeh, Kunafah, Kunafeh, Konafa, Kunafa, and Similar Variations

Knefeh is a traditional Middle Eastern dessert made with thin noodle-like pastry, or alternatively fine semolina dough or even crushed bread crumbs, soaked in sweet, sugar-based syrup. Knefeh is typically layered with cheese or ashta (clotted cream). Some countries also add nuts.


In Lebanon, Knefeh is a a famous all-day breakfast or dessert, considered to be one of the country’s most famous street foods. Lebanon’s national cheesecake is a craving for all ages. The tradition wants us to eat it in bread, which our neighbors don’t understand and question. The more the cheese melts, the more the Knefeh is sexy.


So many people, including Turks, think it is Turkish, but it is Arabic, but there are different varieties of Kunefe. The English language borrows the word from Levantine or Egyptian Arabic, and may employ numerous different spellings, such as kanafeh, kenafeh, knafeh, kunafah, kunafeh, konafa, kunafa, and similar variations.


Knefeh is melting creamy inside, cheesy and soft, covered with a layer of sweet crispy wiry 'threads' or crumbs. The crust can be soft or crunchy, lightly sweet or soaked with an overdose of sugar. Knefeh is a dangerous piece of dessert. Enjoyed as a breakfast or after a meal in Lebanon and Middle East.


One of the most well-known preparations of kanafeh is knafeh nabulsiyeh, which originated in the Palestinian city of Nablus, and is the most representative and iconic Palestinian dessert. Knafeh nabilsiyeh uses a white-brine cheese called Nabulsi. It is prepared in a large round shallow dish, the pastry is colored with orange food coloring, and sometimes topped with crushed pistachio nuts.


There are many types of Kanafeh pastry:

  • khishnah (خشنة‎, rough): crust made from long thin noodle threads.
  • na'ama (ناعمة‎, fine): semolina dough.
  • mhayara (محيرة‎, mixed): a mixture of khishnah and na'ama.
  • mbrwma (مبرومة‎, twined): It is prepared with noodle.


Ashta Knefeh is a speciality of north Lebanon, mostly found in Tripoli, Akkar and Zgharta. When asked about Lebanese sweets, my answer is clear: north Lebanon is known for its ashta based sweets, the south is excellent at maamoul madd and cheese Knefeh. Take “Znoud el Sett” for instense or rolled “Halawat el Jeben”... I would drive all the way to Akkar for them!


Why not try a Knefeh variation. Add chocolate, Nutella, fruits... drizzle some chocolate, mango or strawberry coulis... Knefeh is great as it is but can turn into a culinary innovation: Knefeh crepe, Knefeh croissant, Knefeh burger, Knefeh cake and the list goes on and on; be creative! How do you imagine it?




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DONUTS: I'm a Fan of this Exquisite Sweet Street Food Breakfast


EGGS: We Love eggs. Poached, Boiled, Fried or Served in a Sandwich