How much ever we say Ramadan isn’t a month meant for eating, somehow everyone loves to indulge in this month. For that matter, this time, despite everything, we have been eating a lot almost every day. Sometimes, I tell my SIL, “let’s take a break” and we just end up cutting fruits, making a juice and fixing up something for dinner. Being at home all the time is actually making everyone frustrated and whatever gets cooked would just finish off. It actually feels good… 😀 I have always been cribbing how fidgety my folks are and deciding to cook for them is always difficult, but I am not sure if it is the SIL effect or the Covid effect, I don’t hear too many complaints nowadays! 😉
There was three recipes that I had tried during the past couple of days and was struggling to decide which one to post. So I put up a poll on my Insta stories and surprisingly this one sprung up as the most voted for. Kunafa is a dessert that we absolutely love, but sometimes I wonder whether it is worth buying a pack of the whole dough. The minimum pack size we get here is 500 gm and for us, it may last us for at least two kunafas. For this main reason, I never bought them, but then this quick fix version saves us all the hassle. I first saw this version of the favorite Arabic dessert on Sadiya’s page and have been wanting to try it myself since long but as usual, was always doubtful how I would fare with it. Yep, I am not a very confident person, though I usually look like one! We always have self doubts, which gets cleared only when we decide to quell them and just move ahead, come what may, isn’t it…
OK, keeping my philosophy aside, this time I got a good chance to try it. I had a huge packet of bread waiting to be saved. I had cream and mozarella cheese at my disposal, and I had some sugar syrup in the fridge too. More than everything else, I had people to eat. 😉 Since Sadiya had already mentioned that it tastes the best when hot, I decided to bake them very close to Iftar time and then enjoy it after our Maghrib prayers. I sincerely regret not being able to take daylight clicks of this dessert. Somehow, this year I have not been very successful at utilizing the day light and moreover, after 5, it is usually a very dark and gloomy sunshine almost every day, that you wouldn’t even want to shoot. Hehe…
The only few tweaks I did was that I used the whole bread, including the crust, and I quantified it. The bread I used was Luisine, so any bread that is as big and as square as that can be used. Including the crust gave it a darker shade but definitely no effect on the taste. If you don’t like to use the crusts, then maybe use a couple of bread slices extra to keep the quantity similar. I used one tub of cream, but regretted I didn’t use more mozarella cheese. The quantity mentioned in the recipe is how much I used, but you can use upto 1/2 cup. Even though spreading the buttered bread crumbs is easy for the base, it is a bit dicey when it comes to sprinkling it on the top. Once you put in your filling, distribute equally on the top and press down lightly, covering the whole surface. It is best to bake in a tart pan, so that it detaches once baked and is easy to flip onto the serving plate almost immediately.
One thing is to make the sugar syrup as early as possible and keep it ready. It is always best to pour cold syrup to the hot dessert for immediate absorption. It is some chemical activity that I can’t explain. If you see, even when you buy your Kunafa from the stores, the syrup will always be cold compared to the Kunafa and if both are at the same temperature, it takes time for it to seep in. So make the syrup in advance and refrigerate it, so that you can use it as soon as the kunafa is out of the oven piping hot. Cut and serve immediately for best flavors. By the time I shot this, I did become lukewarm, so I put it on defrost mode in the microwave and had it. It is surely not the original but of course will take care of your Kunafa cravings without having to run to the grocery store much. 😉 Off to the recipe…
- 10 slices bread (large bread like Luisine)
- 100 gm melted butter
- 170 gm pack of thick cream
- ¼ cup mozarella cheese
- FOR SUGAR SYRUP:
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup water
- 2-3 cinnamon pcs
- A dash of rose water
- A dash of orange blossom water
- The first step is to prepare the sugar syrup. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan, along with the cinnamon. Bring to boil and cook till the syrup thickens. Switch off and add the flavorings. Once it comes to room temperature, reserve in the fridge.
- Tear the bread into a food processor and process it into crumbs. Add the melted butter and run the processor till the butter is evenly distributed into the crumbs.
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Grease an 8 inch pie pan.
- Start spreading part of the crumb mixture into the bottom and the sides of the pan. Press tight and ensure that they are uniform.
- Add the cream and spread in the center. Sprinkle in the mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle the remaining bread crumb mixture and slightly press down. You may feel that the bread crumbs may sink, but it will not.
- Bake in the oven for 25-40 minutes till the crust looks golden and the top is firm to touch.
- Take out and immediately flip onto the serving tray. Pour sufficient cold sugar syrup on the hot kunafa. Serve immediately.
I wish I had added more mozarella cheese into my kunafa. Go ahead and add upto ½ cup.