Kanafa

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Kanafa
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

  2. Prepare kanafa: Finely chop frozen, shredded phyllo dough using a food processor until the strands are about the size of a grain of rice. Pour into a large mixing bowl.

  3. Mix together ricotta, mozzarella, and sugar in a separate bowl.

  4. Place butter in a large, microwave-safe liquid measuring cup or bowl with a spout. Heat in a microwave until completely melted, and let it sit for several minutes until a thick white foam has formed on top. Clarify butter by using a spoon to skim off the foam.

  5. Carefully pour butter into the bowl of phyllo dough. Avoid pouring in the white milk solids at the bottom of the clarified butter. Use your hands to mix butter and dough together. Make sure butter is absorbed by taking handfuls of the dough and rubbing it between your palms.

  6. Evenly spread buttered phyllo dough into a 9×13-inch pan and firmly press it into the bottom and edges. Spread cheese mixture onto the dough, avoiding the edges of the pan.

  7. Bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is slightly golden and the edges of dough are brown and bubbly, 30 to 35 minutes.

  8. While the kanafa is baking, prepare the syrup: Combine 1 cup sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in lemon juice. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Be careful not to let the mixture turn golden and caramelize. Remove from heat and add rose water; set aside.

  9. Remove kanafa from the oven. Place a large platter or baking sheet over the baking dish. Using oven mitts, carefully invert the baking dish onto the platter so phyllo is on top. Pour syrup over kanafa. Cut into pieces and serve while hot.

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Editor’s Note:

Shredded phyllo dough (kataifi) is available in the freezer section in many grocery stores.

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