AL KUNAFA BELJEBEN

al kunafa beljeben.jpeg Ingredients:
500gms Kunafa pastry (hair like)
1 cup soft butter
650gms Akawi cheese
Butter to generously butter a 25cm diameter oven traySyrup:
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
½ teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon rose water or
Orange blossom water, when using pistachio

To Serve:
1 ½ cups sugar
¾ cup water
½ teaspoon lemon juice
1 ½ tablespoons orange blossom water

Method:

1.Cut cheese into 2 cm3 cubes. Soak in cold water, frequently changing the water until the salt is completely washed away. For best results, soak the cheese overnight.

2.Strain the cheese and squeeze well, allow to drain in a strainer.

3.Fluff the Kunafa threads and chop using a sharp knife.

4.Place in a large frying pan in a circle, leaving a clear circle in the center of the frying pan. Place on low heat.

5.Place the butter in the circle. Stir the Kunafa dough while sprinkling with butter until the Kunafa turns slightly golden.

6.Allow to slightly cool. Process in the food processor or meat grinder.

7.Sift to separate the rough from fine Kunafa threads. Set the rough Kunafa aside.

8.Generously butter an oven* tray. Sprinkle the rough Kunafa, then follow with the fine Kunafa and pack to completely cover the tray.

9.Cut the cheese using your finger tips, while sprinkling over the Kunafa. Allow a clearance of ½ cm from the circumference.

10.Place the tray over low heat and continuously turn in a circular path to evenly brown the Kunafa without burning it.

11.As soon as the Kunafa moves as one piece when shaking the tray, turn the Kunafa into a serving dish and pour cool syrup over it or serve at room temperature. Sprinkle with hot syrup.

To Prepare Syrup:
In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water. Bring to boil, remove froth, if any. Stir in lemon juice. Continue stirring for one minute or until the syrup flows in a continuous stream when poured. Cool, then use or use hot on cool Arabic desserts.

A heat proof glass tray could be used to enable you to check the colour of the Kunafa and avoid burning it.