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Knafeh is a Middle Eastern dessert with a shredded phyllo dough crust, and a sweet cheese filling, topped with a rose water-flavoured simple syrup. It can be either served hot or cold.



  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon rose water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
  • 16 ounces shredded phyllo pastry
  • 18 tablespoons melted butter
  • 12 to 16 ounces sweet cheese
  • Crushed pistachios (optional)


  1. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Remove the syrup from the heat and allow it to cool slightly, add the rosewater and lemon juice. Set aside.
  3. Mix two tablespoons of melted butter
  4. Add colored melted butter to the bottom of a nine-inch pie pan and swirl to coat the bottom and side of the baking dish and set aside.
  5. Cut shredded phyllo into small one-quarter-inch pieces and place them into a large bowl.
  6. Add 16 tablespoons of melted butter to chopped shredded phyllo and mix until all pieces are coated with butter.
  7. Place half of the buttered shredded phyllo into the baking dish and press firmly into the dish. Use the bottom of a smooth cup or measuring cup to press evenly if desired.
  8. Slice sweet cheese into thin slices and cover the shredded phyllo in the pan. The more cheese you use, the thicker your knafeh will be.
  9. Place the remaining chopped phyllo on top of the cheese slices and press lightly.
  10. Place pan into preheated 350° F oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the top of the knafeh is golden brown and butter is bubbling up the side of the pan.
  11. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  12. Once it has cooled, invert the knafeh onto a serving plate.
  13. Place crushed pistachios on top of the knafeh, if desired.
  14. Pour half of the reserved and cooled rosewater syrup over the knafeh.
  15. Serve knafeh with remaining rosewater syrup on the side. Enjoy! 


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