Monday, April 9, 2012
Making the Kanafe
We popped on it and were not disappointed. It says International but they mainly specialize in Middle Eastern/ Mediterranean food. They sell gyros at lunch time but have a little grocery section as well. I was so excited to find Pomegranate Molasses less than a mile from my home!
But the most exciting part of the trip was that they carried all the ingredients to make Kanafe, a traditional Palestinian dessert. The three ingredients in the center are crucial to Kanafe: Akkawi, a white brined cheese (Nabulsi cheese can also be used), food coloring, and shredded pastry dough.
Basically the shredded pastry dough is mixed with melted butter. The recipe I had called for clarified butter but I skipped that part since it wasn't cooking at an overly high temperature I didn't see the need. Then you press part of that mixture into the bottom of a buttered baking dish prepped with the food coloring. I think this would look and taste just fine without the food coloring; next time I might just skip it. Next you put a layer of the crumbled Akkawi cheese blended with shredded mozzarella and a touch of sugar and orange blossom water. You are supposed to use rose water too, but I realized too late I don't have any but the orange blossom gave it plenty of flavor. Finally you top it with more of the shredded pastry/butter mixture. You bake it and then invert it onto a plate, drizzle copious amounts of orange blossom simple syrup over top, sprinkle with pistachios and there you have it! It's rich but not too sweet (I cut way back on the amount of syrup and butter they said to use and thought it tasted just grand).
We ate this last year when we were at the Global Shopping Village in Dubai. I know my version bends some rules of the traditional, but that's how I roll: I am unburdened by culinary rules!