[Sca-cooks] kanafe, was Dates

Lilinah lilinah at earthlink.net
Sat Feb 9 17:13:27 PST 2008

[this pastry is variously Romanized as kanafe, kunafe, kunefe, knafeh, etc.]

[as some already know, the final "e" is pronounced, it's a schwa 
sound - there's no "h" in the original, it's just added sometimes so 
speakers of other languages know to pronounce the final "e"]

"Ana Valdes" <agora158 at gmail.com> wrote:
>Kanafe is a pastry with a filling of fresh cheese. And powdered [sugar] and
>syrap over it. Delicious.
>On Feb 9, 2008 10:56 PM, Susan Fox <selene at earthlink.net> wrote:
>  > Renata and I just happened to visit the Baklava Factory in North
>  > Hollywood yesterday...

Sigh, i'm jealous :-P

>  > ...They had many kinds of pastries, which is the one
>  > you mean?  I want to try the one that is made from ground kataifi dough,
>  > it looks interesting but very sugary.
>  >
>  > Selene
>  >
>  > Ana Vald?s wrote:
>  > > By the way, following the picture of the mamul cookie (my Iraqui
>  > > neighboorhood grocery import boxes of mamul from Iran and from Egypt,
>  > > they are a bit dry but delicious), I found the Backlava Factory, in
>  > > California. They had a pastry made with kanaf? dough but not kanaf?.
>  > > Does anyone have a recipe for kanaf? or knafe?
>  > > I ate it in Gaza freshly made and it was wonderful. I ate it later in
>  > > Nablus and it was heaven (the knafe is Nablus "speciality", as
>  > > potatoes for Idaho, etc.
>  > > I ate kanafe again in Amman, Jordan, in Jerusalem and some Lebanese
>  > > friends took some knafe from Beyrouth.
>  > > In Stockholm is only an Oriental bakery who do it but they claim the
>  > > problem is the cheese, they try with mozarella but it'a not the same.
>  > > Any ideas?
>  > > Ana

The cheese version is a true specialty of Syria, although it is made 
in other parts of the Levant. Aleppo and Damascus duke it out over 
which has the best pastries. I think that objectively one has to say 
they are both good, but each has its specialties in which it excels 
(i haven't been there, i just know some Syrians, so i hear the 
arguments). Apparently the places that make this kind of kunafe often 
make nothing else.

One of the tricks for this type of kunafe is the correct kind of 
white cheese, which is hard to find outside of Syria. It is not 
listed among the treats on the Baklava Factory website 

There are some Middle Eastern style dairies here in California (the 
current America's dairyland, sorry Wisconsin). I've got recipes in 
some cookbooks, but apparently this is a treat that folks just don't 
make at home. I'll see if i can find them - one is in the 
out-of-print Patisserie of the Eastern Mediterranean (a fabulous 
pastry cookbook, says the person who usually doesn't make pastry, but 
will from this book), and i think there's one in one of the Time-Life 
Foods of the World series (thank you, FreeCycle). I'll have to look.

IIRC, Cordelia, who is on this list, has experimented with it and may 
have some suggestions for cheesey substitutes. Some websites suggest 
haloumi cheese.

Here's a recipe that combines cream cheese and buffalo mozzarella 
(mmm, i wonder if fresh mozzarella, rather than the usual semi-dry, 
would be a good ingredient...) Alas, no photo.

Here's another with the modern Turkish version - it calls the cheese 
peynir, which is cognate with and similar to Indian panir - and 
there's a photo...

Some other recipes call for feta, so perhaps a VERY WELL WASHED and 
slightly sweet (i.e, milky sweet, not sugar sweet) feta would work, 
at least in part.

Hey! i don't know how authentic or good it is, but i found a bakery 
in the LA area that makes cheese kunafe:
Sarkis Pastry, in Glendale and Pasadena and Anaheim
Addresses: http://www.SarkisPastry.com/info.html
The cheese kunafe is for in-store pick-up only, no mail order.
Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
the persona formerly known as Anahita

My LibraryThing

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