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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

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!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Dessert
Servings 24 cupcakes

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Video

@moribyan

Revealing the secret recipe for this Arab American fusion dessert! #dessert #arab #arabfood #kanafeh #عرب #tiktokfood #fyp #foryou #foryoupage

♬ Call me - 90sFlav

Notes

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!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
    • Diana
    • April 28, 2020
    Reply

    I love would to see a traditional version with sweet cheese!

      • hajarlarbah@gmail.com
      • May 2, 2020
      Reply

      I’ll definitely share one soon! A Palestinian mother taught me how to make it with sweet cheese and its so good.

    • Yasmin
    • January 12, 2021
    Reply

    I saw your tik tok and decided to give this a go, it turned out so yummy and my whole family was impressed! thank you for this recipe!

      • Ameera
      • April 23, 2021
      Reply

      Hi is there any alternative to ashta?

        • hajarlarbah@gmail.com
        • April 25, 2021
        Reply

        Hi! Yes I wrote it down in the notes for reference. You can swap it with mascarpone, clotted cream, or even ricotta. Another option is to make it from scratch.

    • Ani
    • March 14, 2021
    Reply

    Hi ! Saw ur tiktok and was impressed. I want to make this..im from Singapore..can i make this with fillo pastry dough? Are they the same?

    • Suk
    • April 9, 2021
    Reply

    This was a hit! Thank you for sharing the recipe. I wish I could show you my pic.

    • Sonya
    • May 14, 2021
    Reply

    What are those dried flowers called

      • hajarlarbah@gmail.com
      • May 19, 2021
      Reply

      Dried edible rose petals! I bought them from Amazon

    • Mehreen
    • May 14, 2021
    Reply

    Hello, Question: you list sugar twice (3/4 cup and 1 1/2 cup). Which one should I use to make the syrup? Thank you!

      • hajarlarbah@gmail.com
      • September 17, 2021
      Reply

      Hi Mehreen! 3/4 cup goes into the kanafa cheesecake batter and 1 1/2 cup goes into the syrup. Hope that clears things up 🙂

  1. Reply

    5 stars
    Thanks For Sharing this Amazing Recipe. My Family Loved It. I will be sharing this Recipe with my Friends. Hope They will like it.

      • hajarlarbah@gmail.com
      • September 8, 2021
      Reply

      Always so happy to share these recipes! Hope they will like it too 🙂

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