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Printed From: Foods of the World Forum
Category: Asia
Forum Name: The Middle East
Forum Discription: From Turkey and the Arabic Peninsula to Pakistan and the far corners of Alexander's Empire.
Printed Date: 09 December 2021 at 05:58

Topic: Knafeh
Posted By: Jules
Subject: Knafeh
Date Posted: 29 May 2019 at 23:08
Knafeh is a Middle Eastern dessert with several varieties, the kind I am familiar with is Palestinian Knafeh Nabulsi. This version is a layer of cheese on the bottom and orange katifi on the top. The two textures together with the floral sugar syrup, called qatr,  are a spectacular combination that play extremely well off each other.

I have found the ingredients somewhat difficult to source in the Mid-west. The two special ingredients are the katifi dough and the cheese. Some Wal-marts carry the katifi, though mine does not and I shop when I travel. There is a great market in Dallas called http://Saras%20Market%20and%20Bakery - Sara's Market and Bakery that carries both. A lot of substitutions I found looking on line call for a combination of soaked mozzarella which has the proper texture and ricotta cheese for flavor but to me the flavor of mascarpone is closer and prefer that. Once you have the ingredients the process id really simple. Combine the butter, food coloring, and noddles and rub to make sure it's coated. Layer 1/4 of the buttered pastry, the cheese, and then top with the remaining pastry and bake. Once it' comes out drizzle lightly with gatr and pistachios and enjoy.

Another thing I like about this dessert is I can reduce it to make a batch for just myself or triple and make it for a crowd. It's easy to prep in advance. Made everything up to the part where you bake it and then just cover and chill until ready to bake and serve

2 sticks butter
16 oz. katifi
10-12 oz. mozzarella, depending on how cheesy you want it
8 oz. mascarpone cheese
orange food coloring

Cut the mozzarella in to cubes and cover with water. Let the cheese soak for 8 hours, replacing the water at least once.

Preheat the oven to 375

Temper the butter so it's past soft, but not melted. Combine the butter and food coloring and the drizzle over the katifi. Use your hands to work it through the dough and separate the strands.

In a food processor combine the soaked mozzarella until it's crumbly and then add the mascarpone.

Layer about 1/5 of the buttered katifi in the bottom of a 9x13 dish and then top with the cheese mixture, making sure it doesn't touch the edges of the pan.

Spread the remaining buttered pastry on top and press firmly to make it smooth and flat. Making it smooth on top is not strictly necessary and won't change the final flavor and only effects the esthetics.

Bake at 375 for for 20 - 25 minutes, it really depends on your oven.

When it is crisp on top remove from the oven and immediately drizzle with cold syrup, top with pistachios and eat immediately. If it sits it gets soggy and isn't enjoyable.

3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. water
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. orange blossom water

Simmer together the sugar and water just until the sugar is dissolved, you don't want a thick syrup here. Remove from the heat and add the lemon and orange blossom water and chill.

Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 29 May 2019 at 23:18
If you can't find it, are very ambitious, you can make your own from phylo pastry.  Take individual sheets or half sheets of the pastry. Toll them up. Then slice the rolls very thinly. Open up those "noodles" and you're good to go. 

Kaitifi is merely shredded phylo. So, while you likely won't get as fine threads as commercial versions, you can get fairly close. 

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: Jules
Date Posted: 29 May 2019 at 23:21
I experimented with that once and found it was good but not quite the same. The katifi is thicker than the phyllo, more akin to long strands of shredded wheat.

Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 30 May 2019 at 01:03
Absolutely correct, Juli.  But, in the absence of the true gelt it makes a good approximation. It's just a PITA to make. 

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

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