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Knafeh - Move over cheesecake, there a new player in town!

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  • Author: Vicky & Ruth
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 10 slices 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Sweet and incredibly delicious, our cheese Knafeh (ka-nee-fah) is a family favorite. Made with shredded phyllo dough, ricotta, and mozzarella to create a fascinating dessert swimming in orange-blossom syrup and crushed pistachios


Units Scale

For the crust

  • 1/2 pack frozen Kataifi (about 8oz), thawed in the refrigerator (see note 1)
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan

For the Filling:

  • 2 cups Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese ( see note 2)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded muenster cheese

For the Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 or 2 tsp orange blossom water ( to taste) (see note 3)
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice


To make the Knafeh  crust:

  1. Place the kataifi threads in the food processor and pulse until they're broken into approximately 1" long pieces. Place them in a large bowl and pour the melted butter over it. Mix well to coat

To Make the filling:

  1. Place the ricotta and sugar in the food processor and process for 1-2 minutes until smooth and creamy

To assemble the Knafeh

  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Generously grease a 9.5" round cake pan with melted butter
  2. Coat the bottom of the pan with half of the buttered kataifi shreds, and press down using a glass
  3. Spread the ricotta and sugar mixture and add the shredded cheeses on top. Place the rest of the buttered kataifi shreds on top, and gently press down. Bake for 40 minutes.
  4. While the Knafeh is baking, prepare the orange blossom syrup. Combine the sugar and water, orange blossom and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, and simmer for about 5 minutes. Set aside
  5. Pour the orange blossom syrup on the Knafeh as soon as it comes out of the oven (you can also leave it aside for each person to pour their own. Serve warm (see note 4)


  1. Kataifi is shredded filo dough than can be found online or in Middle Eastern and Greek specialty stores. As with phyllo dough, kataifi should the thawed in the refrigerator.  Refreeze unused Kataifi.
  2. We found Natural and Kosher's ricotta cheese to be specially smooth and creamy and it taste amazing!
  3. If you cannot find or don't have orange blossom water, simply don't add it to the Kanafeh. It will still be delicious
  4. To reheat the Knafeh, place it in a 250F oven for about 10 minutes or until warm inside
  5. To make ahead: Knafeh can be made 2-3 days ahead and then baked.  It can also be frozen unbaked, thawed, and baked.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern


  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 319
  • Sugar: 17
  • Sodium: 240
  • Fat: 17
  • Saturated Fat: 10
  • Unsaturated Fat: 6
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 31
  • Fiber: .4
  • Protein: 10
  • Cholesterol: 52

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