Mmmm... a bite of crunch combined with creaminess, straight out of the oven, with a drizzle of orange-blossom scented syrup... knafeh bil jibne is a firm favourite here at home when it comes to desserts. Actually, this is not the first time I write about this middle eastern dessert on my blog, but last time I presented it in a fun bite size form- which, I'm pretty sure, you would never find in any Middle Eastern shop or restaurant. They just dont make them like that as the traditional way is really to prepare it in a gigantic round pan that could feed an entire country! I've tried taking lots of photos to show a step-by-step method of making this delicious dessert at home...just incase you get that sudden craving and there is no place nearby to indulge into a ready made slice!
The key ingredient here is knafeh- you can find this in Middle Eastern food shops.
A mixture of the right cheeses explains the creamy inner magic of a knafeh bil jibne. You will need a mixture of akkawi cheese (here on the left, the texture is more goey) and haloumi cheese (on the right, with a firmer texture). These cheeses are salty, so you will need to leave them in a bowl of cold water for 48hours in the fridge to remove saltiness. Make sure to change the water at least twice during the 48hours.
Place your knafeh in a mixer
In a bowl, mix all the shredded knafeh with a generous (and I mean it literally here- you need to be extremely generous) amount of melted butter- or even better, if you have ghee then use that instead. Make sure the knafeh is well coated with the melted butter or ghee and take half of the quantity and spread a layer of it on a baking tray.
Akkawi cheese, diced
Haloumi cheese, diced
Butter or ghee, melted
The important thing here is to coat the shredded knafeh very generously with the melted butter or ghee- otherwise the end result is too dry.
I understand these ingredients may not be easily available everywhere, so a cheat method if you cant find akkawi and haloumi cheese is to use mozzarella instead. In that case, you don't need to soak in water as mozzarella tends to be less salty.
For the syrup place equal amounts of sugar and water and boil for a good 10 mins (until it’s texture is rather thick). At the end, add some orange blossom or rose water to the syrup.
FYI-Although they might all be eating the same thing, this name for this scrumptious dessert does vary from country to country!