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Künefe is traditional Middle East dessert made from cheese pastry soaked in sweet sugar-based syrup. It’s recipe was invented by Palestinian Arabs in about the 10th century AD and came to the territory of the present Turkey a long time ago.
Original Arabic name of this dessert is كُنافة that can be read like “kanafeh”. Now you can find it in every Turkish city but the most tasty in Gaziantep, Hatay and Şanlıurfa provinces. As I think it is connected with Arabic roots of local people.
For example there are special künefe-only cafes in the center of Şanlıurfa. They cook only this type of dessert and even don’t prepare tea for it. If you need to drink something they can offer just cool water. But their künefe is the best for my liking.
Some facts about künefe in Turkey
- You can use different types of cheese for cooking of this dessert like Hatay peyniri, Antep peyniri, Urfa peyniri or lor peyniri. And in every case the dessert will have a different taste.
- Fried nuts such as hazelnuts, pistachios or walnuts can be sprinkled on top of the cooked scallops. In the southern part of Turkey the most used of these garnis are pistachio nuts and hazelnuts are most popular at the Black Sea side.
- In some cases künefe is served with ice cream but it’s just tribute to fashion.