Simple Kunafa Recipe | Nana's Kitchen

Hello everyone! This is the recipe for Nana's kunafa. It's a very popular Middle Eastern dessert and not too difficult to make. Try it out! 
For the kunafa: 
  • 1 box (454 g/1 lb/16 oz) of kataifi (shredded phyllo dough)
  • about a 1/2 cup of melted butter 
  • 2-3 tablespoons of butter
  • about a 1/2 cup of finely chopped walnuts 
  • about 1/4 cup of chopped or sliced pistachios 
  • 1-2 cans (170 g) of clotted cream (also known as kashta or kaymak)
For the simple syrup: 
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp rose water (This is optional. Nana didn't use any though many people do.)


  1. Preheat your oven to 350℉.
  2. Cut the kataifi into smaller pieces and put into a bowl. Pour the melted butter into the kataifi and mix. Don't be afraid to add lots of butter! Once the butter is mixed in, cover the bowl with a towel or bag. Let it sit for 2-4 hours to let the kataifi soak up the butter and soften. 
  3. Butter your tray with about 2-3 tablespoons of butter, or until it's well coated. 
  4. Sprinkle about half of the kataifi evenly into your tray. Press it down as much as you can so it sticks together. 
  5. Evenly sprinkle on your chopped walnuts and pistachios. You can add as much or as little as you like. 
  6. Spread an even layer of the clotted cream on top of the nuts. How much you use will depend on your preferences. 
  7. Now evenly top it with the rest of your kataifi dough. Use the bottom of a heavy jar to press down on the dough. Sprinkle some of the pistachios on top.
  8. Place into your pre-heated oven for 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. 
  9. Make the simple syrup while your kunafa is baking. Combine the sugar, water, and lemon juice in a pot. Let the mixture come to a boil over medium heat. Once it has boiled, lower the heat and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Then add the rose water (if using) and let it cool. 
  10.  Let your kunafa cool then cut into squares. Spoon the simple syrup on top. The amount you use will depend on your preferences. Nana used about a 1/2 cup. 
  11. Enjoy! 

You can watch Nana make the recipe here: