Turkish Food of the Week: Künefe

Turkish Food of the Week #5: Künefe


Künefe in Istanbul

This week’s Turkish food is a popular dessert called, künefe (koo-neh-feh). Although I personally prefer baklava, I figured that most people already know what that is, so I’d like to introduce an unfamiliar and equally scrumptious sweet.

At first glance, künefe might not seem like a dessert. Without the pistachio topping, it may resemble a chicken patty or some fancy kind of fried fish.

However, künefe, unlike tavuk göğsü (tav-ook go-soo) which is a Turkish pudding made with chicken and milk, contains zero meat. It is 100% vegetarian. The main component of künefe is a stretchy, gooey cheese. The cheese is put between two layers of shredded phyllo dough, heated, then served with hot syrup. It is then topped with pistachios or other nuts.

Künefe is a very rich and heavy dessert this is best when shared with a friend or two. It can be found in many restaurants around Turkey, and it is also not too difficult to make. Although the Turkish cheese used in the dish is not widely available outside of the country, you can substitute it with mozzarella, or any other stretchy cheese. A recipe for künefe, which I am dying to try, can be found here.


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