Egyptian Kunafa Recipe

Kunafa is an Arabic dessert dish. Countries all over the middle east have their own variations for this recipe. Some being very similar while others have their own uniqueness. This dish is made of shredded phyllo pastry, a simple syrup and a filling.

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There are  many variations of fillings including banana, cream, raisins, nuts, cheese, to name a few. The shredded phyllo pastry which resembles shredded wheat, can be found either fresh or frozen in supermarkets which stock middle eastern food products.

Many people are intimidated by this recipe thinking that it is very complicated. To be honest I too was a little intimidated at first. However once I did it and saw my result I was able to make it more simplified and still have a delicious taste!

The following recipe I have listed here is an Egyptian variation. It is very simple and is comprised of a raisin filling.


For the syrup:

* 2 cups sugar
* 1 cup water
* 1/2 a small lemon

For the cake:

500 grams of Raw Kunafa dough

* 5 to 6 tablespoons of butter (for best results use Ghee)
* 1 cup raisins

Preheat your oven to 350 F (175 C)

Grease generously both the bottom and sides of an 8" X 8" round pan.


Steps for the syrup:

Helpful tip:

Make the syrup after putting the kunafa in the oven. The syrup will still have plenty of time to cool down. I do this every time and have never had an issue.

1. In a medium sized pot and pour in the water and sugar.

2. Stir over medium heat for 10 minutes until you feel that liquid thickened. You can test this by touching the mixing spoon with a finger. If it feels sticky it is ready. Be careful of the hot liquid.

3. Squeeze half the lemon on the thickened liquid and stir for 2 more minutes. Cover up the syrup and leave it aside to cool down.

Steps for the cake:

1. Melt butter

2. Place the kunafa dough in a big bowl and begin separating it with your fingers.

3. Pour 5 tablespoons of butter into the kunafa.

4. Using your hands mix the butter into the kunafa thoroughly. Keep mixing until the kunafa feels moist. Add another tablespoon of butter if needed.

5. Add half of the buttered kunafa mixture to the pan. Using your hands press the mixture into the surface of the pan, working your fingers around the pan ensuring a level surface without lumps.

6. Once you have completely flattened the mixture, add the raisins. Spread them evenly over the flat surface. Keep away from the sides to avoid burning.

7. Add the remaining mixture, covering the raisins. Repeat the same process of pressing the mixture down very well until flat and level.

8. Place the kunafa in the oven for 35 minutes leaving it to become a golden color.

9. Switch off bottom heat in oven and turn on above heat (broil) for about 5 minutes. Turn the pan after each minute to allow an even golden color.

10- Once you take out the kunafa from the oven, pour the syrup on top of it evenly.  Leave it aside for 10 minutes to cool down, then you are ready to serve.

A lesson in Ghee:

* Ghee is "clarified butter" made from raw unsalted butter. Water and milk solids are removed. 

* A better choice of fat than butter and other saturated fats because of its distinctive healing property not found in other fats.

* Rich in natural antioxidants

* Can withstand higher temperatures than butter.

* Lactose free.


Have you ever tried kunafa?