Knafeh (Lebanese Dessert)

For Harmony day this year, my colleagues organised a morning tea where we were supposed to bring a dish from our cultural backgrounds. One of my colleagues bought in a Lebanese dish called Knafeh (Kn-na-feh) and IT IS SOOO DELICIOUSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!

For those who have not heard of Knafeh before, it is a Middle Eastern dessert which tastes like a baked custard with a crunchy topping. There are different variations of Knafeh depending on the region in the Middle East. Anyway, I knew my husband would love it (he loves pistachios) so I decided to make two versions, one being low-FODMAP for my son and I to enjoy as well. It went down very well after our Good Friday family lunch, and a nice break from chocolate too (although I am sure chocolate Knafeh would taste awesome as well 😉 ) Happy Easter everyone!

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KNAFEH (‘Ka-na-feh’)

Servings 16 | Prep Time 10 mins | Total Time 30 mins

Ingredients

  • 500ml Full Cream Milk*
  • 300 ml Lactose-Free Full Fat Cream
  • 175g Caster Sugar
  • 60g Corn Flour (ensure Gluten Free!)
  • 100g Brazil Nuts (For low-FODMAP, otherwise you can use Pistachios**)
  • 85g Shredded Coconut
  • 20ml Rose Water
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon Nutmeg (optional)

Conventional Method

  1. Add 250ml milk and the cornflour to a mixing bowl and whisk together until the cornflour is completely dissolved.
  2. Pour the milk and cornflour mixture into a medium sized saucepan. Add the cream, sugar, rosewater, nutmeg and cinnamon (if using) and the remaining 250ml of milk.
  3. Heat the saucepan over medium-high heat (not high heat as this will cause the ingredients to burn!), and stir the mixture in the saucepan constantly until the mixture thickens and bubbles start forming. This may take 15-20 minutes. Take the saucepan off the heat as soon as the mixture looks like a ‘soft cloud’.
  4. Pour the mixture into a serving dish/tray and let the custard cool.
  5. Preheat the oven to 150C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Place the coconut on the tray and toast for about 5-10 minutes. Make sure you keep a close eye on it as the coconut can burn quickly.
  6. Meanwhile, crush the nuts. You can do this either by using a chef’s large bladed knife, then carefully rock the blade across nuts until pieces are the desired size. Or you can use a food processor.
  7. Once the coconut is toasted, sprinkle it over the top of the custard, then sprinkle the crushed nuts on top. You can either serve the Knafeh straight away, or you can place it in the fridge for an hour or two before and serve the dish cold.

Thermomix method

  1. Add the brazil nuts (or pistachios** if using) to bowl and process on 1 sec / Turbo then set aside.
  2. Add the milk, cream, cornflour, sugar, rosewater, nutmeg and cinnamon (if using). Cook for 11 mins / 90C / speed 4
  3. Pour the mixture into a serving dish/tray and let the custard cool.
  4. Preheat the oven to 150C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Place the coconut on the tray and toast for about 5-10 minutes. Make sure you keep a close eye on it as the coconut can burn quickly.
  5. Once the coconut is toasted, sprinkle it over the top of the custard, then sprinkle the crushed nuts on top. You can either serve the Knafeh straight away, or you can place it in the fridge for an hour or two before and serve the dish cold.

Tips:

* If you are sensitive to lactose, you can use an alternative low-FODMAP milk.

** Pistachios are traditionally used in Knafeh, however they high FODMAP. If you do not have an issue with them feel free to use them. I have substituted with Brazil Nuts.

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