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Cream Kunafa

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“Delicious cream filled Middle Eastern sweet. This kunafa receives tremendous compliments on its sweet & savory combination and is requested very often. You may use 2 1/2 - 3 "small" cans plain keshta for a regular pie plate (it will not be able to hold all the kataifi pastry though) or 4 1/2 cans for the pan size called for, just don't tell anyone it was that easy! And don't forget to add in sugar to the keshta and mix well with a whisk. (I have made both fresh and with canned keshta and both ways received encores!) *Using canned keshta is just so much easier!!! A dessert of the cuisines of the former Ottoman empire in the Eastern Mediterranean as well as Arab countries. Recipe adapted from Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey, and Lebanon, by Claudia Roden.”
1hr 10mins
1 pan

Ingredients Nutrition

  • Syrup
  • 1 14 cups sugar cups sugar
  • 34 cup water
  • 12 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 12 tablespoon orange blossom water (not an option)
  • Cream filling
  • 12 cup rice flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 12 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • Pastry
  • 1 lb kataifi pastry, defrosted
  • 12-34 lb unsalted butter, melted (I use more than 1/2 lb but less than 3/4 lb)
  • Garnish
  • 13 cup pistachios, chopped


  1. Syrup: In a small saucepan on high heat add water, sugar and lemon juice, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook until light bodied syrup (I test it by putting a drop on the stove surface and feeling it under my finger. It should feel like it developed a bit of body). Add orange blossom water, cool then chill.
  2. In a medium saucepan on high heat, add whole milk. Have a whisk and gently pour rice flour into milk, whisk vigorously until there are no lumps what so ever.
  3. Add cream, mix well.
  4. Reduce heat to low and allow simmering 15 minutes, whisking through out every minute. Be careful not to burn the bottom! Add sugar, set aside.
  5. In an extra large bowl, add Kataifi pastry, breaking all strings apart with hands.
  6. Add melted butter over pastry mixing well with hands, until covered.
  7. In an 11-12 inch pie pan, add half of Kataifi pastry, press down. Add cream filling (if using canned keshta as stated in the introduction make sure to add sugar until lightly sweet) smooth out (cream should no be runny) then add other half of Kataifi pastry, press down somewhat. Bake in a pre-heated 350F oven for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Pour half of the cooled sugar syrup over the pastry; reserve other half to serve at table.
  9. Garnish with chopped pistachios.
  10. Enjoy after cooled to room temperature.

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