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Kunefe, a sweet treat with fine dough soaked in sugar syrup, often layered with cheese or other ingredients, enjoyed warm and served with ice cream.

Close-up of baked pan with Greek ‘Kunefe’ fine dough that resembles pasta

Kunefe is a traditional Arab pan-baked sweet that comes from the depths of Asia Minor and was passed on to Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) under the name of kunefe.

It is made with a fine dough that resembles pasta, or alternatively with fine semolina dough, soaked in sweet sugar syrup and usually with layers of cheese or other ingredients, such as sour cream or nuts, depending on the region.

Kunefe is normally prepared with a mozzarella-like cheese, like the gais from Pontus (the modern-day eastern Black Sea region of Turkey), called “dil peyniri”. In Greece, it is usually made with cream cheese or soft mizithra in the absence of dil peyniri.

Eaten warm, it is prepared and baked shortly before serving in individual small frying pans and sometimes accompanied by a scoop of kaimaki ice cream.

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