Heavenly Knafeh


Dive into the world of Middle Eastern desserts with Heavenly Knafeh, a luscious sweet cheese pastry that's a symphony of contrasting textures and flavors. This iconic dessert features a crispy, buttery layer of shredded phyllo dough, encasing a rich, gooey filling of sweetened cheese, all topped with a fragrant syrup. It's a delightful treat that perfectly balances sweet and savory notes.

Heavenly Knafeh

Preparation and Cooking Times

  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes

Servings and Serving Size

  • Servings: 8 people
  • Serving Size: 1 slice

Nutritional Profile (per serving)

  • Calories: 360 kcal
  • Protein: 10 g
  • Carbohydrates: 40 g
  • Fat: 18 g
  • Sodium: 220 mg
  • Fiber: 1 g


  • Shredded phyllo dough (kataifi): 500 grams (17.6 ounces / 1.1 pounds)
  • Unsalted butter, melted: 150 grams (5.3 ounces / 0.33 pounds)
  • Akkawi cheese, or mozzarella as a substitute, shredded: 400 grams (14.1 ounces / 0.88 pounds)
  • Fine semolina: 50 grams (1.76 ounces / 0.11 pounds)
  • Sugar: 200 grams (7.1 ounces / 0.44 pounds)
  • Water: 240 ml (8.5 ounces / 0.5 pounds)
  • Rose water: 15 ml (0.5 ounce / 0.03 pounds)
  • Pistachios, crushed for garnish: 50 grams (1.76 ounces / 0.11 pounds)

Detailed Method of Preparation

  1. Syrup Preparation: Combine sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Add rose water and cool.
  2. Dough Layering: Mix the shredded phyllo with melted butter. Press half into the bottom of a baking dish.
  3. Cheese Layer: Mix cheese with semolina. Spread evenly over the dough.
  4. Top Layer: Cover the cheese with the remaining dough. Press gently.
  5. Baking: Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C (350°F) for 30 minutes, until golden brown.
  6. Finishing Touch: Pour the cooled syrup over the hot Knafeh. Garnish with crushed pistachios.

Tips for Culinary Success:

  • Keep the phyllo dough covered with a damp cloth while working to prevent drying out.
  • Evenly distributing the butter ensures a perfectly crispy crust.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I make Knafeh ahead of time?

Yes, prepare it up until baking and refrigerate. Bake when ready to serve.

What cheese works best for Knafeh?

Akkawi cheese is traditional, but mozzarella is a good substitute for its meltiness.

How long does Knafeh stay fresh?

It's best enjoyed fresh but can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.