This Lebanese dessert is prepared at home one week before Easter fasting. It is our tradition, as well as my relatives’. It’s a way to end enjoying sweets and eating meaty and dairy products such as butter. It is a mediterranean dessert, also known in Turkey, Egypt.
There is another Lebanese dessert also called Knefeh, usually eaten at breakfast but it is very different from this one. It is made of semolina and topped with melted cheese, all coated with sugar syrup, eaten with a kind of bread, which I love alot, so incredibly delicious.
But Our Knefeh is made out of thin vermicelli-like dough filled with a mixture of pistachios or walnuts, sugar, orange blossom water and rose water, rolled up and baked.
The method of doing these threads consists of drizzling a row of thin streams of flour-and-water batter onto a turning hot plate, so they dry into threads, which are collected into skeins. I like to call it “hair”.
At our village, long time ago, housewives used to prepare these dough threads at home; my grandmother used to do it, as my father told us. I admire that alot. Imagine homemade dough, plus they used pure, fine margarine, which gives an amazing taste, as my parents tell us.
Nowadays, these hair-noodles are store-bought. And they are just delicious.
So I helped mom preparing the recipe, it’s a very easy dessert to make.
- half kilo dough
-300 g pistachios / or walnuts
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp orange blossom water
- 1 tbsp rose water
- few morsels of butter
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
For the sugar syrup:
Put together in a pan over low-heat 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water. Let it boil and thickens. Remove from heat and add a squeeze of lemon then stir in 1 tbsp orange blossom water. Let it cool.
Put the pistachios and sugar in a food-processor and pulse till medium crushed, transfer to a bowl and stir in the orange blossom water and rose water.
On a clean surface, arrange a piece of the dough lengthwise (as pictured) and fill few tablespoons of the pistachios mixture in the center of the dough. Then with both hands, hold both extremities, and turn them in opposite directions, pressing the dough so the mixture doesn’t fall apart.
Place the dough in a buttered round pan and continue with the remainder threaded dough until the pan is filled. Scatter few morsels of butter over the knefeh and drizzle the oil. Bake in a 190C preheated oven for half an hour or until the top is golden browned.
Once the knefeh is out of the oven, pour over the sugar syrup and let it soak to cool down.
Cut and enjoy.