What is Kunafa?

Find out what makes this pastry unique

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Kunafa is a common dessert during Ramadan.

Kunafa is a sugar-soaked pastry that is common in a number of Arabic countries and territories, especially during Ramadan. Though the exact preparation and the spelling of the name varies by region, most kunafa are layered or filled with either cheese (anything from goat cheese to soft regional cheeses) or cream, soaked in a sugar syrup flavored with rose water or orange blossom water, and then topped with ground nuts like pistachios.

The dessert is usually made with long, thin strands of shredded phyllo dough known as kataifi. In fact, the word, kunafa is used interchangeably to describe both the dessert and the dough. The dough is usually fried or baked with butter or oil until it is crisp. In some variations, the kunafa is made with a rich, cake-like semolina dough instead.

If you’re looking for an easy kunafa recipe, we’ve got one you should try. It uses kataifi dough (which can be found at many supermarkets) and ricotta cheese. If you can’t find the rosewater recommended in the recipe, try using vanilla extract instead. Or, simply make the sugar syrup without the rosewater; the resulting kunafa will still be sweet and delicious.

Click here for a kunafa recipe.

Or, click here for our best kunafa recipes.

Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.