knafeh recipe

Knafeh Recipe

knafeh recipe

Knafeh Recipe: A Sweet Story From 1001 Nights

Knafeh is a creamy and delicious Lebanese Cheesecake. It is very similar or basically the same as Kunafa which is a creamy cheese pastry soaked in syrup. Some may say they are the same, but the addition of egg, different nuts, and flavors elevates this dessert to cheesecake status. It has crunchy crusts and nutty, cheesy filling coated in an orange syrup that is to die for.

The origin of this recipe and the Kunafa may be up for debate, but the origins of ricotta cheese go all the way back to the Bronze Age and Rome. Since Ricotta cheese has a short shelf life, however, historians believe that it was really only consumed by shepherds, or rural folk as could eat it fresh without transport. Ricotta means “re-cooked,” as the milk is cooked with acid to form curds that are then strained and pressed. Most store bought ricotta cheeses have a grainy texture to them, while fresh is much smoother.

This recipe is quite versatile meaning that you can substitute many elements in the recipe with varying and lovely outcomes. Trade the ricotta for basic cream cheese and it will be creamier! Switch the orange blossom water for vanilla or the almonds for pecans. Trade ground ginger for nutmeg, but don’t touch that cinnamon!

This dessert is delightful after a hearty beef dish like Mechado, Morcon, or Pochero and a nice green salad. Serve it with fluffy whipped cream, orange slices, and iced chai tea to truly impress your guests.

Knafeh Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 10 People

Knafeh Recipe



  1. In a small heavy-bottomed pot, bring the water, granulated sugar and orange juice to a boil for 10 minutes or until the consistency is like a syrup.
  2. Heat an oven to 350F.
  3. Shake the katafi to loosen and coat in melted butter in a large bowl
  4. Grease a 9x11 baking dish and press 1/3 of the katafi into the bottom.
  5. Whip the ricotta cheese with orange blossom water, eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon and ginger for 3 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle the katafi in the pan with clumps of the ricotta and top it with the rest of the katafi, pressing down.
  7. Top and press the rest of the katafi on top and bake for 30 minutes until golden.
  8. As soon as the katafi pan is out of the oven drizzle the whole thing with the syrup and let it stand.
  9. When the pan is entirely cooled, flip the katafi out onto a platter and top with the nuts
  10. Serve room temperature or chilled.