One of the very first desserts I learnt to make with the first batch of Project Feast trainees was this kunafa – melt in your mouth combination of vermicelli dough, cheese and a floral essence. If you can get your hands on kataifi, then this recipe is a simple one.
Even without the kataifi or the nabulsi cheese, there are plenty of hacks. Quick boil the vermicelli you get for ‘pheni’ and use that for the dough. Nabulsi cheese is hard to find in India, but a good substitute is a combination of fresh paneer and khoya – a combination that will melt just slightly without losing it’s shape.
Give it a try!
1 lb Nabulsi Cheese [or a combination of fresh paneer and khoya]
1 package Kataifi – roughly 1 1/2 cups
¾ cup butter (melted)
Crushed almonds, pistachio and raisins for topping
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
1 tbsp rose water
Procedure: Preheat oven on 350 degree F.
First combine the vermicelli with melted butter. Take deep baking dish, grease it well with butter and spread half quantity of buttered vermicelli at the base. Spread ricotta cheese or khoya on it and then again cover with the remaining vermicelli. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 mins, until become golden brown in color from top.
Meanwhile prepare syrup by cooking sugar, water and rose water in a pan. When the vermicelli is done, remove it from oven and cool it slightly then pour the hot sugar syrup onto the baked vermicelli and top with chopped almonds, pistachio and raisins. Enjoy hot or cold!