Egyptian Shredded Phyllo pie with a custard middle (Konafa)

The dough for this pastry can be purchased refregerated at most middle eastern markets. It looks like vermicelli or shredded wheat, only soft, white, and uncooked. Thin strands of dough with a custard middle and syrupy sauce make Konafa a popular Ramadan holiday dessert.

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1 lb shredded fillo dough pastry
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted

Cream filling
4 tbsp cream of rice (or finely ground rice)
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream

1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp rose water, or orange blossom water


Preparing the cream filling.
1. Mix the cream of rice, sugar and 1/2 cup milk to form a smooth paste.

2. Bring the 2 cups milk to a boil, then add the rice paste to the boiling milk slowly with continuous stirring.

3. Let simmer with continuous stirring until very thick. Ensure that it does not lump or stick to the bottom of the pan. ( Use a teaspoon to scrape where the bottom meets the sides!)

4. Allow the milk mixture to cool, then add the heavy cream. Mix well.

Preparing the syrup.
1. Stirr the sugar, water and lemon juice over medium heat until thick to the point that it coats the metal spoon.

2. Add rose water and cook with stirring for a few more minutes until well mixed. Remove from heat and cool slightly in the refrigerator.

Preparing the Konafa.

  • Melt the butter

Preheat the oven to 350°F

1. Pull out and separate half Konafa pastry strands. Pour half of the melted butter over the konafa pastry.

2. Work the pastry to ensure that each strand is coated with the butter.

3. Spread the pastry on the bottom of a 9x9x2 inches oven dish. Pour cream filling on the pastry.

4. Cover the cream filling with the rest of the pastry strands using the same method described above.

5. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until slightly golden in color. Remove from the oven and immediately pour the cold syrup over the hot Konafa. Serve hot or cold.

Recipe from The Middle Eastern Cookbook by Sabria Farid Toma and Safa Toma.

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