Kunafa Bites

A delicious, traditional Middle-Eastern dessert that is sweet with melted sweet cheese sandwiched between two layers of shredded phyllo dough and soaked in an orange blossom syrup. This dairy-free kunafa is almost just like the traditional dairy version, but healthier for you!

How you bake it is completely up to you but I decided to bake it into smaller bites rather than in a large tray; both are equally delicious and pleasing but I prefer the bites when hosting or in gatherings! They’re fun and easy to eat!


Kunafa Dough:

1 lb kataifi (shredded phyllo dough)

1 cup vegan butter

1 tsp orange extract/food colouring

Cheese Filling:

1 cup cashews (soaked for at least 2 hours)

4 cups warm water

1/2 cup corn flour

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Pinch of salt

Rose Syrup:

1 cup water

2 cups coconut sugar

2 tbsp rose water



Dried roses

Optional: melted chocolate


Preheat oven to 180C. Chop the kataifi into small pieces to achieve small strands.

Melt butter over a saucepan. Pour melted butter over the dough and mix together until the dough is completely coated with butter. This works best if you use your hands. At this point you can incorporate the orange extract.

Meanwhile, put all ingredients for cheese filling in a high speed blender. Blend until completely smooth (shouldn’t take more than 2 minutes).

Once it has all been blended, pour the filling into a pot or large saucepan, over medium to high heat, constantly stirring. Keep stirring until the mixture becomes an even, melted mozzarella-like consistency.Wait for a few minutes for the cheese to begin to cool before using.

Begin by taking a tablespoons worth of the dough and flattening it out using your hand. Add a small amount of the cheese at the centre and roll into a ball. Repeat until you’re left with around 18 bites. Place onto a tray lined with a baking sheet.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the top of the dough is visibly browned.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the top of the dough is visibly browned. Meanwhile, prepare the syrup. Combine sugar and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat, and stir constantly. Bring to a boil. Once it boils, add rose water and simmer for 3-5 more minutes. Set the syrup aside.

Remove kunafa from the oven, and let cool. Top the kunafa with crushed pistachios. I also melted chocolate on too but this is optional. Pour the syrup evenly over the dessert. Serve and enjoy!

Sarah's Cookery

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