Nadiya Sarguroh presents a fresh take on a popular Middle Eastern Ramzan dessert.
The food blogger makes use of sliced mangoes to recreate the traditional knafeh, a sweet made with spun, shredded vermicelli-like kataifi pastry and soaked in sugar syrup.
Stuffed with cheese and topped with chopped pistachios, the Mini Mango Knafeh is baked until crisp and golden brown.
Ideally it should be eaten fresh, but it can be stored in the refrigerator and consumed later with a drizzle of warm sugar syrup.
Tip: If the pastry is hot, the sugar syrup must be cold. If the pastry is cold, pour warm syrup over it.
Mini Mango Knafeh
For the pastry
- 250 gm kataifi pastry dough, now made by a few brands in India
- 150 ml ghee, melted
- 250 gm ricotta cheese
- 200 gm mozzarella cheese
- 1 mango, sliced
- Chopped pistachios, to garnish
- A muffin baking tray
For the rose syrup
- ¾ cup water
- 1 cup castor sugar (a kind of finer sugar manufactured by top baking brands)
- 1 tsp rose syrup
- Few kesar or saffron strands
- 1 tsp lemon juice
For the pastry
- Take out the kataifi pastry dough from the fridge at least 2 hours before use to allow it to come to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Lightly grease a muffin baking tray with ghee.
- Once the kataifi pastry comes to room temperature, using your hands separate the strands.
Using scissors, cut the pastry to an appropriate length, such that it can fit into a large glass bowl.
Pour ghee over kataifi pastry and gently rub so the pastry is evenly coated with ghee.
Take small amount of buttered pastry and press it firmly down in each slot of the muffin tray to form a cup.
Thicker the cup of buttered kataifi, the crunchier the minis.
Fill these cup with the mango chunks at the bottom, the ricotta cheese in the middle and the mozzarella cheese on top.
Cover the cup with another layer of the kataifi pastry, patting it firmly to cover the cup.
Repeat the process for all the muffin cups.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven at 180°C for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
- While the knafeh minis bake, prepare the rose syrup.
Heat the water, castor sugar, rose syrup, saffron strands in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Allow the mixture to boil while continuously stirring.
Turn the heat down to medium and add the lemon juice.
Simmer for 10 minutes, until the syrup has slightly reduced and is sticky to touch.
Take off heat and set aside to cool.
- Once baked, remove each knafeh from the muffin tray and transfer on to a plate.
Pour cooled syrup over it, garnish with chopped pistachios and serve.
Note: Allow the kataifi pastry to thaw completely at room temperature (for 2 hours at least), in its packaging before use.
Have all the ingredients ready before you start working with the kataifi pastry, because it gets dry very quickly.
Use a damp tea towel when required to prevent the pastry from drying.
A vegan version of knafeh can be made using cashew butter and cashew cheese. You might like to follow this recipe for Vegan Knafeh [external link]
To reduce the sugar in the recipe, opt to use honey in the syrup.
To make gluten-free knafeh, the kataifi will need to be made from scratch at home using gluten-free flours. You might like to follow this recipe for Gluten-Free Kataifi [external link]
Nadiya Sarguroh lives in Mumbai and publishes the food blog HautePot.