If someone told me 10 years ago that I would bake around 20 trays of konafa each Ramadan, I would say they have gone crazy! But actually, that became a reality:) If I invite anybody or get invited during the month of Ramadan, they ask for nothing but a HUGE tray of konafa.
To be honest, I never knew why baking konafa was difficult or scared people (including myself) but actually it took me a lot of horrible trials to say that I can make good konafa.
I know you don’t have time for me to keep writing so let’s get to some essential tips for making GOOD … REAL GOOD konafa:
- Shredding konafa in the food processor results in a crisper & tastier konafa! I know this will take more time than shredding it with hand but please please trust me on this one!
- Using butter instead of ghee makes a huge difference in taste; Sorry ghee lovers but konafa for me means butter!
- I use 150 gms butter for 500 gms konafa; I know that’s a lot but actually that what makes konafa mmm .. konafa! Don’t compromise on the 150 grams!!
- Rubbing the konafa with butter must be done with patience because you want every strand to shine with butter
- For the most creamy & silky filling, don’t use fresh cream; use Puk or Prima & they are available in all supermarkets
- Brusbing the tray with oil gives the konafa an amazing color & makes it crispier
- The sugar syrup should be COLD when drizzled on the hot konafa
CLASSICAL KONAFA WITH CREAM
- 500 gm fresh konafa
- 150 gm butter melted
- 1 tbsp oil
- cold sugar syrup شربات بارد
For the Cream Filling:
- 3 cups milk
- 1/3 cup sugar
- ½ cup cornflour dissolved in 1/4 cup water نشا مذاب فى ماء
- 1 tsp orange blossom water مزهر
- 170 gm cream (Puk or Prima) قشطة
- Prepare the cream filling: In a pot over medium heat, mix the milk & sugar. When the mixture comes to a boil, whisk the cornflour/water into it; the mixture will thicken immediately. Once it boils, turn off heat. Whisk the cream & orange blossom water into the mixture. Transfer to a glass bowl, cover with a plastic wrap directly on the surface of the cream & leave to cool.
- Preheat oven at 180.
- Place the konafa in the food processor (in batches) & pulse a couple of times until each strand is about 1-2 cm long.
- Pour the melted butter over the konafa & mix well with your hands (not a spoon); rubbing the konafa between the palms of your hands until all the konafa is well coated with the butter. This process takes about 3 minutes.
- Brush a 30 cm baking tray with oil, spread 2/3 of the konafa mixture on the bottom of the tray; pressing firmly with your hands to have the konafa firmly packed as much as possible. Bring the konafa a little up the sides of the tray to form a protective wall around the filling so that it doesn’t get burnt. Press with the bottom of a cup on the konafa to help pack it firmly & smooth out its surface.
- Put 2/3 of the cream filling on the konafa; don’t pour the filling in the center & spread it with a spatula/spoon because the konafa layer will stick to the cream & it will all come out. Instead, scoop the cream spoon by spoon on the konafa until it is totally covered.
- Spread the remaining 1/3 of the konafa over the filling, pressing GENTLY with your hands to help the konafa stick together. If you press firmly, the cream will pop out so press gently until you have a firmly packed konafa layer.
- Bake the konafa in the middle rack for about 25-30 minutes until the sides of the konafa are deep golden & pull away from the sides of the tray. If the upper layer is not golden yet, broil for a couple of minutes. The upper layer will never be as deep golden as the bottom & sides; it will be golden.
- Once the konafa is out of the oven, drizzle with ¾ of the cold syrup quantity. Let the konafa rest for 10 minutes then invert & drizzle with the remaining ¼ of syrup.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
- I use only 2/3 of the filling as this creates the perfect konafa/filling ratio. If you prefer a thick filling, use the whole quantity. The leftover cream can be frozen or used in stuffing Katayef or baklava.
- You can prepare the konafa tray, leave it on the kitchen counter covered with a towel & bake it right before fetar to eat it warm.
- The oven has to be preheated for about 15 minutes before you bake the konafa.
- Because ovens really vary from one brand to the other, your konafa might take longer to bake. The sign that the konafa is done is the sides; they will become deep golden & pull away from the sides of the tray.
- Shredding konafa in a processor helps the konafa stick together better & be crispier.
- Don’t use fresh cream; I use the small tin of Puk or the plastic tub of Prima; both are available in all supermarkets.