Künefe is a dessert that comes from Southeast Anatolia and was a typical dish of the previous Ottoman Empire. There are different variations of the dessert, but the one that is called “Künefe” relates to the Turkish version.
The Turkish dessert is made with very fine vermicelli or pasta, the so‐called Kadayif and filled with a special cheese (Dil‐Peynir). The idea is to put the cheese between two layers of kadayif. Künefe is cooked in small copper plates and it is served warm with pistachios on top. Most of times it comes with clotted cream (Kaymak), but it could be replaced with vanilla ice cream. Both ways are simply great!
You can find Künefe in almost all Turkish restaurants of the city and the price ranges from 7‐20 TL. This dessert ‐like most of Turkish desserts‐ is very sweet, therefore on the first time I recommend that you share it with another person and that you have it with tea or water. For people who do not like “too sweet” then ask for extra cream and get some bites, it is definitely worth it!
In some touristic restaurants of Sultanahmet nuts and strawberry sauce can be included, but this is rather an exception. The original version and the one you will find almost everywhere will be served with pistachio and clotted cream.
If you really enjoyed Künefe and will miss it after visiting Turkey, do not worry! It is possible to find a “home‐made” version of the dessert on the Turkish markets around the world. I live in Germany and I was very glad when I found it. Of course, it will never taste exactly the same like in Turkey but at least it will be a good opportunity to sweet your life from time to time.
The interaction of vermicelli + Cheese + Syrup + Pistachio + clotted cream/ice cream is an absolutely delicious combination and a “must try” when one visits Turkey. I totally recommend it!
Photo Credits: Sudhamshu Hebbar