The legendary knafeh inspires these delicious ricotta-filled Knafeh cupcakes. These luxurious knafeh cupcakes look challenging to make, but you only need 5 essential ingredients: knafeh, butter, ricotta cheese, sugar syrup, & some pistachios. A quick and easy dessert you and your family will love.
Oh my goodness, I’m obsessed with this dessert!
If you haven’t tried knafeh…💔 knafeh is one of the best Palestinian desserts you can have. It’s a bucket-list-worthy dessert to try. Although, I must confess that this recipe is not the most authentic knafeh dessert; it’s missing the best part! The famous cheese pull that’s followed the first bite of the crunchy crust and chewy sweet cheese that’s bathed in simple syrup. It’s incredibly addictive.
I’ve taken an old favourite and modernized it with a unique cooking technique, that gives the knafeh and luxurious new look, and the perfect sized addition to your afternoon coffee. These knafeh cupcakes have that crispy, crunchy outside you know and love, then stuffed with sinfully delicious ricotta cheesecake. And topped with floral flavoured sugar syrup, it’s a treat you can’t beat.
These knafeh cupcakes are batting 100% for satisfying every dessert desire of my heart: crunchy, sticky, perfect sweetness and easy. And with only five ingredients, guys!
REASONS TO LOVE KNAFEH CUPCAKES:
- Crunchy. SO CRUNCHY.
- Cheesecake texture inside. Crunch, crunch, cheese…hmm
- Sweet and Cheesy.
- Simple to make.
- Easy to store, transport, and pass around to friends.
- Easy to eat 5 cupcakes without realizing it. Wait, that’s a good thing, right?
INGREDIENTS FOR KNAFEH CUPCAKES:
As I said, these are simple; to make the knafeh cupcakes you’ll need:
- Knafeh Dough: You’ll find this special dough in the freezer section of most well-stocked supermarkets. I usually find it in with the puff pastry and phyllo dough. You must dethaw the knafeh pastry before you begin making the cupcakes. The night before, place the knafeh in the fridge to dethaw. It’s not recommended to dethaw the pastry at room temperature because it can cause the dough to dry out.
- Butter or Ghee: Ghee is the more traditional fat used for the knafeh, but both are ok, you have to melt the butter or ghee.
- Ricotta Cheese: I used full-fat ricotta in this recipe, but any ricotta will work. I mixed 2 tbsp of white sugar into the ricotta before breaking the cheese up.
- Simple Syrup: This syrup is the magic for all middle eastern desserts! It has 4 ingredients: sugar, water, lemon, & floral water of your choice. You do not have to add the floral water to the simple syrup, but it’s such an excellent addition I strongly recommend seeking out this ingredient.
- Pistachio: this is for the finishing touch of the dessert to bring the look to from plain to luxurious. You don’t need much of this ingredient; it’s just for a finishing touch. I grounded up 2 tbsps in a coffee grinder.
HOW TO MAKE KNAFEH CUPCAKES?
To make these knafeh cupcakes, simply:
- Prepare Knafeh. Place knafeh in a large bowl. Pour the ghee over the pastry and massage the oil into all the strands of pastry. Well, pulling it apart.
- Make the Cupcake Shells. Oil your cupcake tin with ghee, then place 2 tbsp of knafeh into the tin and press the pastry into a nest shape. It should be thick on the bottom and sides, about 11/2 inches. If it too thin it doesn’t look as beautiful, and you’ll be able to see the ricotta inside.
- Make the Filling. Mix the ricotta and sugar. Fill the nest with a tbsp of ricotta mixture. Press the ricotta down to make it even. Add more knafeh on top of the ricotta to seal in the cheese. Press the knafeh pastry top, so they’re also on the top.
- Bake. Bake at 350˚F for 15 minutes or until lightly brown on the edges.
- Syrup Bath. As soon as the cupcakes get out of the oven, ladle the sugar syrup over the knafeh cakes. Enjoy the sizzling sound; it’s the best! I use 1-2 ladles of syrup for each cupcake. It looks like a lot of sugar syrup, but don’t worry; that is how it’s supposed to look. Don’t be tempted to use less syrup. These cakes will soak it up! Let sit for 10-15 minutes in the sugar syrup.
- Garnish. Remove the knafeh cupcakes from the pan, flip them upside down and garnish with the ground pistachio.
- Serve. Give some you love, one of these sweet treats. And enjoy the moment. 🥰
POSSIBLE RECIPE VARIATIONS:
Want to customize your knafeh cupcake recipe? Feel free to…
- Swap out the ricotta cheese for walnuts or any other nut you would like
- Make a cheese comb and go more traditional you could try halloumi, mozzarella, & ricotta
- Try stuffing it with a cheesecake filling
- Nut and chocolate chip mixture would be an excellent idea too.
Knafeh Cupcakes with ricotta cheese
- 1 pkg of Knafeh dough
- 1 lb of butter or 2 cups of ghee melted
- 500 g ricotta cheese
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 cups of white sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 tsp rose water
- 1 tsp orange blossom water
- 1/2 lemon
- Preheat oven 350˚F. Grease muffin tin with ghee.
- In a large bowl, add the knafeh. Pour the ghee over the knafeh and message and pull apart the pastry to ensure the oil has coated all the strains of pastry.
- In a medium bowl, add the ricotta and sugar. Mix well.
- Add 2 tbsp of the knafeh pastry to the cup tin, then press the pastry down to make a nest. Be careful not to make the base of the nest to thin. The knafeh should be about 11/2 inches thick.
- Add 1 heaping Tbsp of the ricotta to the knafeh nest. Press the cheese mixture down, it should be sitting in the nest, and a little bit of the knafeh is surrounding the cheese.
- Cover the cupcake with more knafeh, and press down. The cupcakes should be at the same level as the tin.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
- In the meantime, prepare your simple syrup. In a small saucepan, add the sugar, water and lemon. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Continue until the temperature reaches to 200˚F on a candy thermometer.
- Once the knafeh cupcakes are finished baking, pour 1/4 of a cup of simple syrup on each cupcake. Most ladles measure 1/4 of a cup: so you can use a ladle. The cupcakes should be swimming in the syrup.
- Let cool for 15 minutes, remove the cupcakes from the tin and garnish with pistachio.
- To make this dessert you'll need one 12 proportioned cupcake tin and 6 proportioned cupcakes tin.
- You can find Knafeh pastry is most well stocked supermarkets or in a middle eastern store. Amazon also sells it, but only in bulk.
- When making the simple syrup: if you don't have a thermometer, just simmer the sugar until it start to change colour and coats the back of the spoon once it starts to cool. That's the traditional way to know if it done.