Mini Kunafa with Farah Abu Maizar
Kunafa is a very traditional Middle Eastern dessert. It’s generally made with sugar syrup soaked shredded dough, and some form of local cheese.
For the kunafa crust:
1 loaf of white sandwich bread, crust removed My pack minus the end pieces had 17 slices, or total of 225 grams breadcrumbs
1 stick butter, melted Anywhere between 100-113 g
For the sugar syrup: 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar 500 g
1 1/4 cup water 300 ml
squeeze of lemon juice
1 tbsp rosewater
1 tbsp orange blossom water
For the semolina pudding: 3/4 cups milk 175 ml
1/3 cup heavy cream 90 ml
1.5 tbsp sugar
1.5 tbsp semolina pudding
1/2 tsp cornstarch, dissolved in a drizzle of water
1/2 tsp rosewater
For the cheese filling: 200 g mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp rosewater
Make the sugar syrup
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water and lemon juice. Set on a stovetop over medium high heat. Stir just to combine then let it be. If sugar isn’t dissolving you can stir a couple times but as soon as it starts to boil stop stirring.
2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from stove immediately once 10 minutes is over. It should have thickened to the consistency of maple syrup.
3. Once off the heat, stir in rosewater an orange blossom water, and transfer to a container to cool.
For the semolina pudding 1. In a small saucepan, combine the milk, heavy cream, sugar and semolina. Dissolve the cornstarch in the 1 teaspoon of water and add to the mixture.
2. Place over medium-high heat and cook, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil, and continue cooking for about 5-7 more minutes or until mixture thickens into a pudding like consistency. Remove from heat and stir in the rosewater. Allow to cool slightly while you prepare the breadcrumbs.
For the mozzarella cheese 1. Mix the mozzarella cheese with the rosewater and sugar. Set aside.
For the kunafa crust 1. Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).
2. Place the toast slices with the edges cut off into a large food processor or blender. If they don't all fit at once, do this in batches. Pulse until fine breadcrumbs form.
3. Place breadcrumbs in a medium bowl, pour over the melted butter, and stir until well combined and coated with the butter.
To assemble and bake 1. Lightly grease the cavities of a regular sized muffin tin. You can use pan spray or a little softened butter. You'll probably get around 9 muffins with this recipe.
2. Place a few teaspoons of the kunafa crust inside the muffin cavity pressing it down with your fingers to pack it compactly into the bottom and sides of the muffin tin cavity.
3. Place a dollop of semolina pudding on the crust, about 1 tbsp full. Sprinkle with another tablespoon of the sweetened mozzarella cheese.
4. Sprinkle more kunafa crust crumbs over the top of the cream and cheese until they are covered and press down lightly with your fingers to make sure the inside is well coated.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately drizzle each kunafa with sugar syrup. Let stand a few minutes tot cool enough to remove from muffin pan, then use a spoon to gently lift each kunafa out of the muffin pan.
6. Serve with extra sugar syrup on the side, and pistachios sprinkled on top.
Notes Recipe for semolina pudding and sugar syrup adapted from Cleobuttera