A dish of food on an embroidered background
Photography, Valéry Guedes


An indulgent, cheesy treat from Tawlet Paris.

Knafeh is a traditional Middle Eastern dessert made with cheese. This recipe, from Tawlet Paris, uses golden-brown breadcrumbs to soak up the floral sweetness that comes from orange-blossom water as well as a simple sugar syrup.

A dish of food on an embroidered background


Tawlet Paris' recipe for a traditional Middle Eastern dessert made with cheese.
Course Dessert
Cuisine lebanese, Middle Eastern
Servings 6


  • 3 cups breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup + 2 tbsp butter divided
  • 1 L 2% or whole milk
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup fine semolina
  • 1 drop mastiha ground
  • 2 tbsp orange-blossom water
  • 1 kg desalted akkawi cheese or mozzarella grated
  • 30 g ground pistachios
  • 60 g sugar syrup see note


  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Heat frying pan over medium heat. Melt ½ cup of the butter; add breadcrumbs and fry, stirring, until golden brown. Set aside.
  • In a large pot, combine milk, sugar, semolina and mastiha and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until creamy. Stir in orange-blossom water.
  • Rub a shallow oven dish with the remaining 2 tbsp butter, then sprinkle over half of the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle cheese over breadcrumbs, then top with an even layer of the semolina cream. Top with the rest of the breadcrumbs.
  • Bake until light golden and cheese is melted, about 20 minutes. Serve hot, drizzled with sugar syrup and sprinkled with ground pistachios.


To make sugar syrup, boil 3 cups granulated sugar with 1½ cups water until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
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