Cream-Filled Knafeh

Slightly adapted from: Cleobuttera

Yield: 6–8 servings (one 8" round knafeh)


Orange Blossom Simple Syrup:

Cream Filling:

  • ¾ cup (170g) whole milk
  • ¾ cup (170g) heavy cream
  • 1 ½ Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 ½ Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp Indo~European Foods Orange Blossom Water
  • ½ tsp rose water, optional

Knafeh Crust:


  • ¼ cup (30g) pistachios, chopped

*This is dried shredded phyllo dough, and it’s spelled a bunch of different ways: knafeh, konafa, kataifi, kunafa, kadayıf, kanafeh, etc. It looks like veeerrry skinny noodles. You can find dried knafeh online, in specialty Middle Eastern or Turkish shops, or at international markets. (ATLiens, we found ours at Buford Highway Farmers Market.)

**If you don't have any ghee on hand, you can easily make clarified butter at home.


  1. In a small pot over medium heat, mix sugar and water, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and boil for about 3 minutes.
  2. Add lemon juice and orange blossom water, then boil for another 1–2 minutes.
  3. Pour simple syrup into a heat-safe container with a spout, such as a Pyrex liquid measuring cup. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  4. After your simple syrup has cooled, make the cream filling. In a small pot—off the heat—whisk together milk, cream, sugar, and cornstarch until cornstarch has dissolved.
  5. Place pot over medium-high heat. Whisking constantly, cook until mixture starts to bubble. Keeping whisking until mixture thickens.
  6. After filling has thickened, pour into another bowl to cool slightly while you prepare the crust.
  7. Heavily grease an 8" cake pan with some melted ghee or butter. Set aside.
  8. Place dried knafeh in a very large bowl. Using your hands, break knafeh strands into small pieces.
  9. Pour melted ghee over knafeh pieces. Once again using your hands, mix really well until every strand of knafeh is coated with ghee.
  10. Place two-thirds of ghee-coated knafeh into prepared pan, pressing it very firmly into the bottom of the pan and slightly up the sides. Feel free to use a flat-bottomed glass or measuring cup to really pack it down.
  11. Pour cream filling into crust, smoothing top with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.
  12. Sprinkle remaining ghee-coated knafeh on top of filling, gently pressing it down.
  13. Cover pan and place in fridge for one hour or overnight.
  14. When you’re ready to bake, move oven rack to middle-bottom slot, then heat oven to 390°F.
  15. Bake for 45–55 minutes. The cream-filled knafeh is ready when it’s golden brown and the edges have slightly pulled away from the sides of the pan.
  16. Transfer pan to a wire rack and immediately pour three-fourths of room temp simple syrup over knafeh, taking care to cover the entire top.
  17. Allow knafeh to rest for 10 minutes; this will help the syrup soak in.
  18. Invert onto serving platter, then drizzle remaining simple syrup over the top, making sure to soak any dry spots.
  19. Scatter chopped pistachios on top and serve immediately while still warm.

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