Knafeh is a beautiful and intriguing Middle Eastern dessert made with stringy kataifi pastry and filled with mozzarella cheese.






Skill level

Average: 3.6 (62 votes)


  • 250 g ghee
  • 375 g kataifi pastry  
  • 500 g firm ricotta
  • 300 g mozzarella, shredded
  • 300 g pistachios (shelled), chopped

Sugar syrup

  • 440 g (2 cups) caster sugar
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp rosewater

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Melt the ghee in a saucepan over a medium heat. Brush a little gee on the base of a 20 -25 cm baking dish.
  3. Pull apart the kataifi and place in a large bowl. Using your hands or tongs, coat the kataifi with the ghee. Place two-thirds of the kataifi on the base of the baking dish.
  4. Break up the ricotta and scatter over the kataifi. Scatter the mozzarella over the ricotta, then top with the remaining kataifi. Brush the top with a little more ghee. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown on top.
  5. Meanwhile, for the sugar syrup, place the sugar, lemon juice, rosewater and 500 ml (2 cups) water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  6. Once the knafeh is cooked, remove from the oven and carefully invert onto a plate. Pour the syrup generously over the knafeh and scatter the chopped pistachios over the top.


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