Kunefe (Kanafeh)

Finally, I’m back. With all the moving and adjusting here it was hard to blog. Now that I’m in Turkey I wanted my first post here to have a Turkish identity.

Kunefe (kanafeh) was one of the weirdest sweets to me when I was a child. (Two weirdest, mind shocking Turkish sweets will be in this blog at some point- sneak peak: one of them is made with all kind of beans and legumes and the other one with chicken breast!) But that was when I did not know about cheesecakes and all the sweet goodies made with cheese. I was sure that it cannot be good- cheese in a desert? I was not such an explorer growing up so I resisted to it till I was 17 or so. Ohh, how wrong was I. Today kunefe is at the top of my favorite desert list.

Kadayif (kadaifi) is the main ingredient in this desert. It is basically shreds of dough half baked on heated iron plates. It is sold in mediterranean and middle eastern stores.

Few ingredients, and simple to make but the result is sweet heaven.

Kunefe (Kanafeh)

1) This recipe calls for an stove top friendly pan.
2) Ingredients can be adjusted to fit a smaller pan- like the one I used.
3) Kadaifi can be found in Greek and Middle Eastern stores.
4) Middle Eastern stores also sell kanafeh cheese- that is unsalted and hard.


1 kg kadaifi
750 gr- 1 kg unsalted hard cheese
300 gr butter
2 cups sugar
4 cups water
1 tablespoon molasses


1- Add sugar to water and bring to boil. Leave it another 5 minutes to boil. Leave it to cool slighlty.
2- In a food processor finely chop kadaifi.
3- Melt the butter.
4- Combine butter with kadaifi. Let it soak all the butter by mixing them with your hands.
5- Grease a pan(stove-top friendly) with butter and molasses mixture.
6- Press firmly half of the kadaifi to the pan.
7- Layer all the cheese over kadaifi equally.
8- Press rest of the kadaifi over cheese firmly.
9- On stove top bake 10 minutes on low heat.
10- With the help of another pan turn the kunefe upside down. Cook the opposite side for 8-10 minutes on low heat.
11- Pour warm sugar water mixture over the kunefe.
12- Serve hot or warm.

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7 Responses to Kunefe (Kanafeh)

  1. Susy says:

    This dish is delicious. We eat it in my home country. Its served for breakfast mostly. I wish you would have cut a piece to see the cheese inside!! delishh!

    • tartepink says:

      Yes, Susy! Exactly I was gonna take an inside picture but did not have time. Next time I do this I will definetely add that picture here. That view is divine!

      But wait! This for breakfast?? Isn’t it too sweet for morning? I guess may be not…it is not sweeter than pancakes with jams and etc. I’m just not used to eat this in the morning, that’s why I was surprised… :)

  2. June Chan says:

    Although I do not know this kadaifi ingredient but from the picture of that piece of cake, it looks real tempting. Should be nice to eat. Thanks for the invitation and sharing.

  3. anda says:

    This looks lovely! I love desserts with cheese. And I also love Turkish cuisine! I will try this soon as I have a Turkish store close by my house and I always wanted to buy kadaifi but never knew what to do with it.

  4. Aruvqan says:

    Hi – I ran across the recipe for Kunefe and it reminds me somewhat of a different medieval persian food also made with kadaifi, though the medieval form was actually a ‘pancake’ shredded to make the little shredded wheat looking kadaifi [in persian called kataifa or qataifa]

    If you want an odd food made with kadaifi, this medieval persian recipe is -
    in a baking dish butter the bottom and sprinkle with rosewater
    place a thin layer of kadaifi
    place a layer of ground almonds and scrambled eggs
    sprinkle with sugar lightly
    another layer each of the kadaifi and the almonds/eggs/sugar
    top with a final layer of kadaifi, sprinkle with rosewater and place under a spit roasting a chicken or duck so the drippings fall into the dish of kadaifi, eggs, almonds, sugar and rosewater.

    It seems to be an interesting dish, almost like a layered filo dish, but since the kadaifa isn’t solid, you can’t really brush it with butter, and using the dripping fat and other cooking liquids from the chicken or duck in place of a syrup.

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