Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Knefeh: The royal breakfast of champions in Lebanon

It was my favorite Sunday morning breakfast growing up. The ritual, the walk down the hill to "sea Sweet" bakery, the way to order it "easy on the syrup," the walk back home all culminates with all of us sitting on the balcony enjoying Knefeh Bi-jibn (or knefeh with cheese). Some think that it is all in the bread. The bread, oh the bread (a picture I found on the web is on the right). I can go on and on about it: Not sweet, not chewy, with enough crust, and covered with sesame, shaped in just right way to be used as a vehicle for the knefeh. In fact, it is made for knefeh, exists only for it. It is a sort two-in-one version of the trinity. Now, on to the real part. I made knefeh this weekend (picture below). It has two parts, the cheese part and the "cake" part. I am not sure what cheese is used, sweet cheese (technically it is not sweet, it is just a cheese without salt), but mozzarella should work. I used some cheese from the Arab store here. The cake part is typically some mixture based on semolina, but I used shredded philo (which is widely available) since it easier to handle. You bake both cheese and philo together, and you add a sugary syrup infused with rose water and orange blossoms. You take a piece and slowly stuff it inside a pocket in the bread.
I dare any breakfast, anywhere, to come close to this. No. No.
I will tweak the recipe a little more before I post it.

1 comment:

Elena said...

We actually tried Knefeh at that Mediterranean restaurant I wrote about earlier (see Dish Dash)- having a savory cheese in a dessert was a bit strange for me, but Niko loved it! I'll have to try yours and compare!