Kunafa with Cream and Cheese
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins

Try the classic Middle Eastern dessert Kunafa. This version is made with a cream filling (kashta) and mozzarella cheese, doused in a sweet orange blossom simple syrup. Bake till golden brown and enjoy warm for best flavour.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Arabian
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 594 kcal
Author: Tamara at Foodieverse
Orange Blossom Simple Syrup
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water or 1/2 tsp rose water (optional)
Cream filling
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup cream (kashta or heavy cream)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 1/2 tbsp milk (to dissolve cornstarch)
  • 250 g mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 250 g kataifi (shredded phyllo) pastry
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  1. Preheat oven to 180C.

Orange Blossom Simple Syrup
  1. Combine sugar and water in saucepan. Bring to boil.

  2. Add lemon juice. Simmer for 10 minutes until thickened.

  3. Take off heat. Add orange blossom water or rose water, if using.

  4. Cool.

  1. Lightly pull apart kataifi pastry.

  2. Place in a bowl and add melted butter.

  3. Combine well to coat majority of pastry strands.

Cream filling
  1. Combine milk and cream in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Keep on medium heat.

  2. Add sugar and stir to dissolve.

  3. Simmer for 10 minutes. 

  4. Dissolve cornstarch in 2 1/2 tbsp milk and add to milk mixture.

  5. Stir and simmer for another 5 minutes until thickened.

  6. Remove from heat and cool.

To assemble
  1. Layer a round pie dish (24-30cm) with the cream filling.

  2. Cover with grated mozzarella.

  3. Add buttered kataifi pastry on top, ensuring the cheese is hidden.

  4. Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown.

  5. Remove and immediately pour cooled orange blossom simple syrup over the pastry. Ensure kunafa is well soaked.

  6. Cut, marvel at the stringy pulls of cheese and devour.

Recipe Notes
  1. You may leave out the orange blossom water or rose water if you can't find them at your local supermarket or Middle Eastern grocery store.
  2. Ensure syrup is cool before you pour over hot Kunafa.
  3. Kataifi pastry is also known as shredded phyllo pastry or kunafa pastry, found in the frozen section of most supermarkets or Middle Eastern grocery stores.
  4. Grate Mozzarella once you have got cream filling ready so that the cheese doesn’t melt and get clumpy.
  5. While fresh mozzarella is best, you could use pre-shredded Mozzarella.
  6. You can freeze the Kunafa before baking for up to 3 months. Just thaw and bake as per recipe instructions.
Nutrition Facts
Kunafa with Cream and Cheese
Amount Per Serving
Calories 594 Calories from Fat 342
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 38g 58%
Saturated Fat 23g 115%
Cholesterol 114mg 38%
Sodium 526mg 22%
Potassium 120mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 53g 18%
Sugars 34g
Protein 11g 22%
Vitamin A 24.7%
Vitamin C 0.5%
Calcium 22.5%
Iron 6.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.