Homemade Khanafeh

img_4291We’ve been making this recipe forever. It’s an adaption of an old family recipe that has been passed down for generations.  However, this is the first time we’ve actually written it down and I’m so excited to share it with you just in time for the holidays. Khanafeh is a buttery, shredded phyllo, cheesy, sweet and decedent Middle Eastern dessert that originates from the city of Nablus. Ask anyone in the Middle East where the best Khanafeh is made and they’ll tell you Nablus.

We start with shredded phyllo, we buy it frozen and leave it on the counter to thaw for a few hours before preparation. Through trial and error we decided to use a deep 9 inch round cake pan because it fits nicely unto a cake stand. You can bake this recipe in any pan of your choice but will need to adjust the cooking time.


img_40031  16 oz package of shredded phyllo dough cut into 2 to 3 inch lengths.

1 cup of ricotta cheese

1 cup of shredded whole milk mozzarella and provolone cheese mixture

1 cup of melted butter

1 1/2 TBS orange- blossom simple syrup to add to the cheese mixture and then some for serving with the Khanafeh (see recipe below)


img_4222Hand shred the phyllo dough and cut into 2-3 inch managable strips with kitchen shears.

For the cheese mixture we use a combination of ricotta, mozzarella and provolone. Most recipes use a sweet farmer’s cheese, but we like this combination plus its really easy to find in your local grocery store.


This recipe calls for two sticks of butter.  Before you gasp from the amount of butter used, most recipes online call for three, so you can almost consider this diet Khanafeh 😉


I use the microwave to melt the butter, just like they did in the olden days. Ok maybe they didn’t use a microwave, but it saves time and it does the trick.


Mix the cheeses together and add about 1 1/2 tabs of Orange-Blossom water infused simple syrup. (Again, recipe below)

Next, add the butter to the shredded dough and mix well img_4235

Create a nest with at least half of the buttered phyllo dough and spread the cheese mixture in the middle.


Be careful not to get any of the cheese near the sides of the pan. It just makes for a much prettier Khanafeh.


Finish by adding a generous layer of the buttered dough on the top of the cheese. Don’t worry you’re going to have a little bit of extra dough left over. You can either discard or use it for another recipe.


Place in a 350 degree oven, if you are lucky like us and have a convection oven then use that function. We baked it for about 50 minutes or until brown and crispy.


We like to eat our fresh out of the oven while the cheese is still hot. Top it with your favorite simple syrup recipe and enjoy




Orange Blossom Simple syrup recipe:

two cups of sugar,

one cup of water,

1 tsp orange blossom water

(or make the same sugar water mixture with a vanilla bean for a vanilla syrup)

Combine ingredients and bring to a slow boil in a medium sauce pan for around 10 min. Transfer to a container that’s easy to pour.

Orange Blossom water can be purchased at any Middle Eastern grocery store.


This recipe post was written and shared by: Catherine Sareini

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