Makes about 8 Muffins
There is an ongoing debate about where kunafah, a sweet cheese “pie” usually eaten for breakfast, originated. Some claim Turkey as its country of origin, others swear it is Palestine, and others claim it is from Syria. There isn’t enough research for us to tell for sure, but what is certain is that there are two main types of kunafah. In kunafah Nabulsiyah, from Palestine, the kataifi pastry— called “hair” pastry because it is made in very thin, long strands—is colored red and used as is. The Lebanese version is known as kunafah mafrukah (meaning “rubbed”), because the strands of kataifi are buttered, then rubbed and rubbed until they become like fluffy breadcrumbs. Also the Lebanese version has no coloring. In Lebanon kunafah is made into a sweet sandwich by stuffing it inside the fat part of a sesame bread that looks like a handbag, with a handle and a fat pouch part, then drenching it and the inside of the bread in sugar syrup.
It is fairly simple to prepare and all you need is to buy kataifi fresh or frozen from a Middle Eastern store.
You can make this in the oven (as below) or on the stovetop. You can vary the cheese by using 1 pound (450g) Arabic clotted cream (qashtah) and follow the instructions as below.
I suspect my daughter loves these pancakes more than she loves her father; if you add maple syrup, no wisp of doubt remains. All you need to add for the perfect Sunday morning is good coffee, the papers and the prospect of a good lunch cooked by someone else.
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