Whenever I go back to Lebanon, the first thing I do is pass by one of the many bakeries on the way from the airport and grab a nice, sweet, warm knefeh (knafeh, kanafeh, kunafeh or kunafah). The traditional knefeh is made with white cheese and a special type of semolina-based dough, served in a sesame bun and sugar syrup. My version (based on my mom’s recipe) is more home-friendly: simple ingredients, easy to make and seriously delicious! Even though it has dessert written all over it, in Lebanon this is actually a quick breakfast! You just drop by a bakery on your way to work. The prefect start of your day!


  • 150 gr breadcrumbs
  • 100 gr butter, softened
  • 100 gr semolina
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 300 ml full milk
  • 400 gr fresh mozzarella

Sugar syrup

  • 200 gr sugar
  • 125 ml water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon rose water
  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom water


  1. Preheat the oven at 190°C.
  2. Make sure the butter is soft enough before using it. Using your fingers mix the butter with the breadcrumbs. Make sure to leave as little lumps of butter as possible.
  3. In a springform press the mixture to cover the whole base.
  4. Shred or grate the fresh mozzarella and spread it on top.
  5. In a pan, add the milk, semolina and sugar. Bring to a boil on medium heat while constantly whisking until the mixture thickens.
  6. Pour it on top of the mozzarella and bake for about 30 min until the sides become golden brown.
  7. In the meantime, make the syrup. Add the sugar and water in a pan and bring to a boil. Once all the sugar has been dissolved turn off the heat and add the rest of the ingredients.
  8. When the knefeh is ready, take out from the oven. Make sure the sides are loose and remove the ring.
  9. Grab a plate that’s a bit larger than the springform, place it on top of the knefeh and flip it. The bottom should be beautifully brown.
  10. Immediately drizzle half of the syrup.
  11. Serve warm with some extra syrup and if you want, some sesame buns.