Breads and Pastries
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Knafeh (Knafeh Bil Jiben)
1 lb package Kataifi (Shredded Phyllo Dough)
8 - 12 oz white cheese (Nabulsieh, Akkawieh or Ricotta)
1/2 cup butter or ghee
1/2 tsp. orange food coloring powder (optional)
Pistachios (coarsely chopped for decorating) (optional)
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
2 - 3 tsp. Orange blossom water
1 tsp. lemon juice
Prepare the syrup:
In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil, stirring often. Add the lemon juice and orange blossom water and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes. Allow to cool before using. (This step can be done the day before).
Prepare the cheese:
If the cheese is salty, soak it overnight in water (changing the water a few times), rinse thoroughly and drain well before using.
Prepare the Knafeh:
Place the shredded phyllo dough in a large bowl and separate by hand.
In a saucepan, combine the butter and food coloring and melt the butter. Add the butter in stages to the shredded phyllo dough and mix well (by hand) after each addition until all the dough is orange.
Place half the knafeh in the bottom of a 10 - 12" round spring form pan and press firmly.
Arrange the cheese slices on top of the knafeh dough and top with the remaining knafeh.
Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F oven for about 20 - 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and while still hot, pour about 1 cup of the syrup.
Sprinkle with chopped pistachios and serve hot or warm with some syrup on the side to be added if desired.