Cream Cheese Kunefe with Cherry Spoon Sweets

Kunefe is traditionally made with a stringy unsalted cheese from southern Turkey, similar to mozzarella. I use cream cheese here, which works better if you want to enjoy this dessert after it’s cooled (I’m a leftover enthusiast), but mozzarella can be used for a more authentic result.

Cream Cheese Kunefe
Serves 8
The traditional Turkish dessert made with cream cheese
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Total Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr
  1. 500 g. kataifi pastry
  2. 300 g. butter (that's real butter people!), melted
  3. 300 g. cream cheese
  4. 1 cup sugar
  5. 1 cup water
  6. 1 cinnamon stick
  7. 1 large piece of lemon zest
  8. 2 tbsp. finely chopped Aegina pistachios
  9. spoon sweet or jam topping of your preference
  1. Preheat your oven to 190 degrees C (375 degrees F).
  2. Start by separating and fluffing the kataifi threads, while simultaneously tearing them into smaller pieces.
  3. Brush the bottom of a 9" round oven dish with melted butter.
  4. Add half of the kataifi threads to the dish and une your hands to press them into an even layer.
  5. Drizzle the kataifi threads with half of the remaining melted butter.
  6. Add the cream cheese in an even layer, then add the remaining kataifi, press to make it even, and drizzle with the remaining butter.
  7. Bake the kunefe in the middle of the oven for about 45 minutes, or until golden.
  8. While the kunefe is baking, make your syrup.
  9. Add the sugar, water, cinnamon, and lemon zest to a small pot and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 5 minutes, and then let it cool completely.
  10. Pour the cooled syrup over the hot kunefe. The syrup will be absorbed within a couple of minutes.
  11. Sprinkle with finely chopped pistachios, and serve warm topped with spoon sweets or jam.

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