You can make the best of Israeli shuk street food in your own kitchen.
Editor’s note: A few years ago on a trip to Israel, I took a tour of the Machane Yehuda shuk with Tova In Israel. She introduced us to this most incredible dish and there was no turning back. Every time I have the opportunity, a stop at a knafeh stand is on my must-do list. And then Sophia shared a recipe for knafeh and I knew I had to give it a try.
- 1 pkg 400-500 g kadaif/kataifi (shredded phyllo dough), defrosted.
- 1 ¼ cups (2.5 sticks) butter, melted
- ½ cup milk
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 pounds ricotta cheese
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon rose water (available at Middle Eastern groceries. Sadaf brand is most popular.)
- 1 cup water
- Preheat oven to 350⁰F.
- Combine kadaif and butter. Press half the mixture into a Pyrex baking dish or your choice of oven-to-tableware. Reserve the other half.
- Combine milk, corn starch, heavy cream, ricotta, sugar and vanilla in a pot. Stir until everything comes together and starts to boil and thicken and then turn off the flame.
- Pour the cheese mixture over the kadaif layer and then top with another layer of kadaif.
- Bake for about an hour. I keep my Pyrex loosely covered for the first half-hour so it doesn’t get too brown. While the knafeh is still warm, pour cold Shira (see below) on top. I freeze this before I pour the Shira. Serve the knafeh warm.
- Combine sugar, water, rose water, and lemon juice in a saucepan. Cook for 20-30 min on a low flame until the syrup coats the back of a spoon. Allow to cool before pouring over knafeh.