I have not written here about desserts for a while. This is unacceptable on my part, of course, I know. However, it seems that my life is becoming busier by the day. Isn’t it strange that sitting at home, seemingly doing nothing can take so much time? Well, my nothing turned into daily learning Torah (thank Gd!), teaching more than once a week, working my growing wellness business, and of course cooking and baking for Shabbat. I have developed a way to make sour-starter multi-grain challah bread small enough for the two of us cloistered in the apartment so that we don’t consume loads of real sourdough bread which we both love.
This week though prompted by my husband’s long-time friend back in Israel, I have decided to make knafeh the traditional way. I have always made it Michael Solomonov‘s way, lucky to have a couple of his books. The outcome is great and is loved in my family, but takes a bit of time, and surely not something I’d do just for the two of us.
The knafeh I made for Shabbat is perfect for two to four people, and takes pretty much no time at all. You can see the original recipe here (I am sure there are many more versions), but it’s in Hebrew. I will loosely translate it here based on what I did making about half of the amount.
140 grams kodaifi noodles
70 grams butter – you need to melt it and cool slightly
125 grams ricotta
25 grams fresh mozzarella
Less than 1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup water
0.5 cup sugar
Juice and rind of half a lemon
Start by taking your kodaif noodles from your freezer and putting it in the refrigerator the night before.
Then make the syrup – add water, sugar and lemon together on medium high fire and stirring occasionally cook until the syrup thickens and at least 1/3 of water evaporates. Remove the lemon rind.
When you are ready and the butter is melted, place the noodles into a bowl, and separate them breaking if needed so that they form a fluffy mixture. Add butter and mix with your hands again so that butter is evenly distributed.
On a small fire butter a small skillet and place half the noodles evenly into it, making sure that the surface is smooth and covers all the bottom of the skillet. Tap lightly with a spatula to spread out.
Mix the ricotta, mozzarella and sugar in a bowl, and place into the skillet spreading with a spatula in an even layer. Add the rest of the noodles and tap with the spatula to even out. Cook for a few minutes until the bottom browns a bit.
Take a plate that fits snugly into the skillet, and after going around with the knife carefully to loosen up the dough, put the plate on top of the mixture with a towel to spare your hands from heat and carefully turn the skillet over. Push the knafeh mixture back into the skillet so that the top is now down on its bottom. Cook for a few minutes, and keeping the knafeh on a low fire, pour all the syrup carefully and slowly onto it. The mixture will absorb all of the syrup.
Slide the knafeh onto a plate, and enjoy hot or cold. You can add chopped pistachios and/or a few drops of orange blossom water.
I love cooking! If I had someone to immediately go after me and clean, I would love it even more. However, not in my life, and certainly not in my small kitchen. Thankfully, lately I have discovered the amazing line of cleaning products! Not only they are natural, but they work like a charm. So, after I made a mess of my stovetop and oven prepping for Shabbat, all I had to do is just spray my Tough & Tender, let it sit for no more than a minute, and wipe off. Loving it! Such a time saver, and my kitchen smells like I didn’t just chop a whole load of garlic there.
Happy cooking, happy cleaning.