Künefe is a very popular dessert in Turkey which we will also find widespread throughout the Middle East. Very simple to prepare, it requires the main ingredient, kadayıf, which unfortunately I must say is not easy to find in US.
Kadayıf pasta is mainly prepared based with flour, water and salt. It is a typical ingredient of Middle Eastern cuisine. It is a pasta cut into very thin threads used for many dessert recipes. These are intertwined threads that are wetted with sugar syrup.
Keep the recipe ready for when you unexpectedly find kadayıf. Once I found it in an Italian hypermarket!
- 500 gr of kadayıf
- 250 gr butter
- 300 gr peyniri (salt-free cheese that you can replace with mozzarella)
- To prepare the syrup:
- 300 grams of sugar
- 300 ml of water
- A few drops of lemon juice
How to prepare the Künefe ?
The first step is always to prepare the syrup, then boil the water and sugar. Add the lemon drops and let it boil for about 10 minutes. Let it cool down.
We separate the kadayıf well (which appear dry and tangled), cutting them at first and then proceed with the hands. We melt the butter and pour it over the kadayıf to make it absorb perfectly. It is important that it absorbs the butter well, so you have to mix it a lot with your hands.
We grease a non-stick pan. When in Turkey, we grease the pan with a mixture of soft butter and pekmez (jam) to give the cake a golden colour. We place half of the kadayıf on the pan, mash well and place the cheese cut into thin slices, cover with the other half of the kadayıf and squeeze again to compress it as much as possible.
Now we can simmer it, making sure it cooks evenly. You will have to turn it once to cook the other side, it is a delicate job that I let my mom do it. But now I can tell you that with the help of a plate and a couple of pot holders, it’s much simpler for me to prepare than it seemed back then …
When the Künefe is cooked (therefore golden) we remove it from the heat and pour the cooled syrup over it.