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Making Knaffe Shredded Wheat Dairy Dessert With Grandma Abadi

8 Comments 25 April 2012

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Thank you Joy Betesh for sending in your grandma’s recipe for kanafe. I LOVED watching this video because that was exactly how MY grandma spoke!!! The EXACT accent!!!! And the Syrian BANGLES!!!!!  MEMORIES!!!  (Please note- when the video is completely edited Joy will send it in for us to view but enjoy these couple of minutes with her grandmother!!!)

Shavuot would NOT be the same without Kanafe!!!! Happy holiday to all!! Marlene


“Hi Marlene, Here is my Grandma Abadi’s recipe for Kanafe. I submitted it to Food 52 and it was an Editor’s Pick! In 1985 I videoed my Grandma Abadi and Grandma Rahmey making Kanafe and also interviewed them about their lives. In 1995 when my son was bar mitzvahed my mother made the kanafe and referred to the video for the recipe. Two months ago, for my grandson’s Bris I made the Kanafe, and watched the video , too!

Kanafe is the most heavenly Syrian Dessert….the combination of the ricotta cheese, buttery crispy shredded wheat  and the fragrant rose and orange blossom water syrup makes me swoon.This knafe recipe is unique because cream of rice cereal is used as a lighter alternative to heavy cream. I submitted it to Food 52 and it was an Editor’s Pick!

This is my grandmother’s recipe and I videoed her making kanafe in 1986. Ten years later, my mother wanted to make Kanafe for my son’s Bar Mitzvah and we did not have an accurate recipe…so we popped in the video and was able to capture Grandma Abadi’s recipe and her technique! Now I have prepared the Kanafe and will bake it next week in honor of the birth of my grandson!” – Joy Betesh

p.s. Its also the perfect dairy Shavuot Dessert!

SERVES 12-14

For the kanafe:

  • 1 pound kanafe (shredded phyllo dough)
  • 2 1/2 pounds ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup cream of rice cereal
  • 3 sticks of sweet butter melted
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rosewater
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, peeled & chopped

For the Syrup:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon rosewater
  • 1 teaspoon orange blossom water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

  1. Drain the ricotta in a strainer. Prepare the cream of rice according to the box directions using the 2 cups of milk, add the 4 Tbsp sugar and the rosewater. When the cream of rice mixture is cool add the ricotta and mix well.
  2. In a large bowl shred the kanafe with your hands, tearing apart the strands of dough so there are no clumps. Mix in the melted butter, continuing to shred the kanafe till it is well coated with the butter.
  3. Spread 1/2 the kanafe in a 9 x13 pyrex or large pan. Press down firmly and press the kanafe 1/2 way up the sides of the pan. Add the ricotta mixture, spreading evenly over surface. Top with the other 1/2 of the kanafe. The kanafe may be frozen up to this point.
  4. For the syrup, bring the sugar, water and lemon juice to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes. Add the rosewater and orange blossom water. This syrup may be made ahead and refrigerated.
  5. Bake in a 350 oven for one hour or till golden. Pour the cold or room temperature syrup over the hot kanafe. Garnish with the chopped pistachios. Serve warm or at room temperature.


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Your Comments

8 Comments so far

  1. frieda mansour says:

    can u post a parve receipe for konafa?

  2. Janie Schwalbe says:

    I bought 2 Kosher cookbooks called Stirring the Pot from your site. I was sent the cookbooks immediately and I sent the check to Kol Israel with the address I was told. The enevelope with the check was returned and I don’t know the correct address in Brooklyn. I don’t want the cookbook authors to think I didn’t sent the check! Please send me the correct address so I can mail the check and maintain my good name!

  3. Nicole Mizrahi Gabbai says:

    Is this the Esther ‘Abadi, A”H, who was married to Hakham Matloub ‘Abadi? If so, wow!

    • Joy Betesh says:

      Yes, That is my Grandmother….Grandma Abadi and my Grandma Rahmey would come to my house and help me fill my freezer and we while we were making all the Syrian delicacies they would tell me stories about their lives….so I decided to interview them while we were baking.

  4. Elaine Parker says:

    I remember growing up when Aunti Esther came to our home and made all kinds of Syrian goodies. My mother Naomi used to freeze them and use them only on special occasions. She would ration them to us.
    What memories that video brought back.

  5. Selma cohen saban says:

    I really enjoyed seeing mrs. Esther Abadi Aleha shalom! I have vivid memories of her and her delicious aunt lilly Abadi is her daughter in law,and we spent many shabbats and yom tov together. Thanks for the video!I also told my cuz Sandra (Abadi) levy to watch it so she can see her grandma making kenafe. Thanks,joy


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