Kanafeh is popularly known to have originated in the Palestinian city of Nablus, and is the most representative and iconic Palestinian dessert. The Turkish variant of the pastry kanafeh is called künefe and ‘Turkish Künefe is a crispy, cheese-filled dessert made with ‘kadayıf’.(half baked string- shaped dough)
A layer of mild, stretchy cheese is sandwiched between two layers of buttery chopped kadayif, vermicelli-like strands of filo pastry. The kadayif is made in separate stalls near the bakeries, by cooking runny strings of batter on a circular griddle. As the dough firms, it’s scooped off the heat and set aside. The trick with cooking künefe is to know when the bottom layer of kadayif is golden brown and has fused — like a cross between Pommes Anna and shredded wheat — into a crisp, even layer. That’s when the pie is flipped over and cooked to golden on the other side. While still hot, a mild sugar syrup is ladled over the künefe before it’s cut into pieces, sprinkled with chopped pistachios and it can be also served with clotted cream.