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Kadaif or Middle Eastern Cheesecake

  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 30 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 Minutes
  • Total Time: 90 Minutes
  • Yield: 12-16 Servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern


This Kadaif Middle Eastern Cheesecake is made with a crust of couscous, filled with salty sweet cheese, and topped with crunchy kadaif that is then drenched in a honey lemon syrup.




1 C couscous

2 C Boiling Water

1/2 C Butter melted

1 lightly beaten Egg

pinch of Salt

1 ¾ c Ricotta Cheese

6 oz Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

½ package of kadaif (about 80z)

½ C butter melted

1 1/2 C Honey

Pinch of Saffron (Optional)

Pinch of Cinnamon (optional)

1/2 C Water

1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

Chopped pistachios for garnish

10” Springform Pan


Put couscous in a bowl and pour boiling water over. Stir. Leave to soak for up to 30 minutes until water is absorbed. When absorbed stir well with fork to break up lumps.

Pour melted butter over couscous and then stir in egg and salt. Pat this in bottom of 10″ springform pan. (This is your crust. It is a soft one.)

Preheat oven to 375.

Combine Cheeses and 2 T of honey. Spread on top of Couscous.

Take kadaif and mix well with ½ c melted butter. Tear or shred into threads and make sure each one is coated well with butter. Press this on top of cheese. Bake about 45 minutes.

Take honey and saffron or cinnamon, if using, and the water and put in pot. Bring to a boil and boil for about 5-7 minutes. You are making a light syrup. After you take off heat, stir in lemon juice. Chill this in fridge or freezer, but do not let it solidify. It needs to be cold when you pour it over your warm kadaif. This keeps your kadaif crunchy.

After baking your kadaif for 45 minutes, turn the oven up to 450. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the top of  kadaif is golden. Remove from oven and immediately pour cold syrup over kadaif. You can serve it warm if you like, or let it come to room temperature.

Sprinkle with pistachios. They look and taste good. Kadaif will stay good and crunchy for about 4 days if it lasts that long.

Mint Tea is the traditional accompaniment.

Keywords: kadaif, kanofa, Middle Eastern cheesecake, kanafeh, kadayif