Kanafeh Cheesecake Cups
Kanafeh is basically an Arab/Middle Eastern “cheese-cake” but in this recipe, we’re introducing it to the New York Cheesecake. Warning: these can become addicting really fast. Find lots of family and friends to share these with!
The perfect fusion dessert! If you cannot find ashta at your local Arab or Middle Eastern Grocery store, you can swap it for mascarpone cheese or clotted cream. You can also make homemade ashta using this lovely recipe from Cleobuttera!
The final product is a light, fluffy, slightly tart, and just the right amount of sweet kanafeh cheesecake. Best part is the crunch — such a huge step up from the traditional graham cracker crust.
Kanafa Cheesecake Cups
- 16 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 cup ashta
- 3/4 cup thinly shredded low moisture mozzarella
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 12 oz shredded phyllo dough about 4-5 cups
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter or ghee melted
- 1/4 teaspoon kanafa dye optional
- 1 1/2 cup white sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 to 2 teaspoons orange blossom water
- garnishes: ground pistachios and edible rose petals
- Heat a small pot over medium-high heat and add the sugar, water, and orange blossom water. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally until all the sugar is dissolved. Drop the heat and allow to simmer for 10 more minutes. Take off the heat and set aside. While it cools, it will thicken even more.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a food processor, pulse phyllo dough until shredded into short pieces. Do not over-pulse. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Melt the butter in a small bowl and add the kanafa dye. Whisk and pour on top of the shredded phyllo dough. Mix very well to make sure all the shredded phyllo is coated in the butter evenly.
- In a mixer bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, and eggs until completely smooth.
- Then add the ashta, mozzarella, and vanilla extract and mix again until fully incorporated.
- Add cupcake liners to a cupcake tin. Then place about a tablespoon of the shredded phyllo dough at the bottom of each cupcake. Place about two heaped tablespoons of the cheesecake batter on top of the phyllo. Then sprinkle a little more shredded phyllo on top of the batter.
- Pop into the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and immediately pour syrup over each cup. Depending on how sweet you like it, each one can get about 1 to 2 tablespoons of syrup. Top it off with pistachios and/or dried rose petals.
- Allow to cool to room temperature. Then pop them in the fridge for 3 hours to set before enjoying.