Künefe is considered to be one of the most delicious desserts of Turkey and we are so lucky to have this dessert at our cuisine. Künefe dessert spreads all over the world from our Atakya district (Antioch) of Hatay city. Antakya is located in the Mediterranean region of Turkey and it is the birthplace of this delicious dessert. If you go to Antakya (Antioch) one day, do not miss this taste. Künefe is a combination of kadayıf (shredded phyllo dough) and special elastic cheese which is only made in Hatay city.
The Story of Künefe
Hatay city is the entrance door for us to the heart of the Middle East. Hatay city residents can able to understand both Arabic and Farsi languages because their city was the pathway of trade routes for centuries. This gave Hatay residents a big advantage to reach different tastes whenever they want. If your city is at the center of the trade route, this means you can reach anything you want at any time. The local says that they use special ingredients to give the elasticity of the cheese that they use in ‘Künefe’ dessert.
Künefe dessert is also very common in Syria, Iraq, and Iran too; however, they use different cheese types in it. You find Künefe dessert at almost any Kebab restaurant in Turkey; however, their taste is really different than the ones I ate at Antakya.
Where to eat?
‘Tarihi Bizim Künefeci’ is the best ‘Künefe’ shop in Antakya. It is best because they are making the dessert in front of you fresh cook. So you get the best of the best fresh taste. They don’t sell dessert from yesterday. They cook only order basis and they don’t keep stock dessert at the shop. So for this reason, if you go at lunchtime you need to wait but if you go after lunch the shop will be less crowded. If you ever visit Antakya, I strongly recommend this place to you.
- 1 cup granulated white sugar for Syrup
- 1 cup water for Syrup
- 150 g shredded phyllo dough
- 100 g butter
- 100 g unsalted mozzarella cheese shredded
- 2 tbsp ground pistachio
- 1/2 cup milk
First start with preparing the syrup. Pour sugar and water in a medium size pot and let it boil. Once it boils, remove from heat and let it cool.
Remove the shredded dough from package and shred it once more with a sharp knife or food processor until the shredded phyllo dough pieces are very small.
Melt butter in a pan and start to add shredded phyllo dough and mix with butter very well.
Add the milk and continue mixing until butter and milk are well combined into the shredded phyllo dough and remove from heat. Then divide the buttered phyllo in to two portion.
In a round pan or pyrex, place the first half of the buttered phyllo dough and press it with spatula. Distribute the shredded unsalted mozzarella cheese evenly on top of the buttered phyllo dough and press the cheese with spatula.
Add the remaining second half of the buttered phyllo dough on the top of the cheese and distribute evenly. No cheese should be seen after you cover the top and then press it evenly.
Heat the oven to 190 C. Place the pan and bake for 50 minutes or until it gets golden brown color.
After 50 minutes, remove it from oven and pour the syrup on hot Künefe. Let it absorb the syrup about 3 minutes and it will be ready to serve.
Tip: Serve with ice cream.