Kanafeh pastry comes in two kinds:

1. khishnah ( خشنه) (rough): crust made from long thin noodle threads
2. Naameh (ناعمة) (fine): semolina dough ( I posted the homemade recipe of this dough on my blog under ( knafeh Naameh dough ) … Check it out. Or you can buy it ready from the knafeh store.
The pastry is combined with melted butter or ( ghee ), then spread with soft white cheese, such as Nabulsi cheese, Akkawi Cheese, Ashta or Nuts- and topped with more pastry. In khishnah kanafeh the cheese is rolled in the pastry or layer flat in a circle cookie sheet or even as cupcakes. A thick syrup of sugar, water is poured on the pastry during the final minutes of cooking. Often the top layer of pastry is tinted with orange food coloring. Crushed pistachios are sprinkled on top as a garnish.
Palestinian Knafeh especially in Nablus is the most popular one.
Nablus kanafeh is a neon orange pastry with a crust of shredded Fillo dough or semolina dough, filled with soft cheese and drenched in syrup. It is especially popular during Ramadan.



  • 1 package knafeh dough (shredded fillo dough), you can buy it from any middle eastern store.
  • 2 sticks of sweet cream butter melted or 1 cup of ghee butter ( I posted the method of cooking ghee butter at home in Knafeh dough recipe- check it out.
  • A sprinkle of knafeh orange coloring ( optional ).

For filling:
There are a lot of options, I will mention some of them:

  •  500 grams Akkawi cheese soaked in water over night.
  • A recipe of homemade Ashta ( I posted the recipe under

Warbat ).

  • 2 cups of crushed walnuts mixed with 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon – and 1/4 tsp cloves.

For syrup:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Drops of lemon juice

Ground pistachios for garnish


  1. Start with syrup
  2. To a medium size pot add, water and sugar.
  3. Stir until sugar dissolves.
  4. Let cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes.
  5. Add lemon juice and stir.
  6. Let cook for another 5 minutes.Turn heat off and set aside.
  7. Preheat oven to 400 F. In a large bowl, crumble the knafeh dough with your hands.
  8. Mix melted butter or ghee with the orange knafeh coloring.
  9. Add melted butter or ghee to the dough and mix to combine.
  10. Press two thirds of the mixture in the bottom of a non-stick 12 inch circle pan and spread out as a crust.
  11. Drain the cheese from water.
  12. Top the crust with the cheese or Ashta and spread and press down evenly, leaving one inch of the sides without filling.
  13. Place the rest of the knafeh dough mixture evenly on top of the cheese mixture to form another crust on top. And press gently.
  14. Place pan in the oven and bake  for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  15. Take it out of the oven. Carefully flip it over a bigger pan with flat or short edges.Put it back in the oven for 5 minutes.
  16. Take it out of the oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
  17. Drizzle with syrup, and garnish with ground pistachio.

Cupcake individual knafe:

  1. Follo the same steps in preparing the dough.
  2. Use a nonstick cupcake tin.
  3. Press 1 tbs of the dough in the bottom of each cup ( use the bottom of a small tea glass to press the dough down) to make a well in the middle.
  4. Add 1 tsp of Ashta in each well.
  5. Cover each cup with 1 tbs of Knafeh dough and press gently.
  6. Bake at 400 F in the middle rack of the oven until golden brown.
  7. Take it out of the oven and drizzle with syrup.
  8. Let rest again. And then flip the cupcake tin over the serving dish.
  9. Garnish with ground pistachio.

Tip: try to use ghee butter or (samneh baladieh) in making knafeh- it tastes much better and it makes a big diffrence.



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