Experiment 1: Kanafa bil smeed

my first attempt at kanafa bil smeed

my first attempt at kanafa bil smeed

Ever since I tried kanfa bil smeed (Kanafa with semolina) this summer in Lebanon, I made it my mission to experiment with it once I got home. But of course, being the procrastinator that I am, I didn’t, until yesterday.

After some research online and from what I recall, I decided on a recipe and bought the necessary ingredients; Akawi cheese ( جبن عكاوي) and semolina (سميد).  As akawi cheese is quite salty, you need to slice the cheese and soak it in water for at least 4 hours, changing the water every hour. What I did was soak it overnight and when I got back home from work, I changed the water a few times. After the last soak, place the cheese in a tea towel and let it dry for at least an hour. That method was not too successful with me as there was still some water left. I suggest you get yourself proper cheese cloth.

cheese in water

2 blocks of akawi cheese sliced and soaked in water


ingredients for semolina dough
ingredients for smeed dough

Semolina dough

3 cups coarse semolina (سميد)

2 sticks butter melted (200 grams)

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup water (or as much needed)

2 tablespoons orange blossom water (ماء زهر)

Adding orange blosson water to the semolina, sugar and melted butter

In a bowl add orange blosson water, semolina, sugar and melted butter

mix all ingredients

Mix all ingredients

add 1/4 cup water

Add 1/4 cup water or as much needed to form a dough

form the dough into a ball and place in a dish in the oven for 10 minutes at 170 C

Form the dough into a ball and place in a dish in the oven for 10 minutes at 175 C

Remove the dough from the oven and leave it to cool to room temperature, then put it in a food processor and pulse until you get a smooth, creamy texture.

butter the pan

Next, butter an oven-proof pan

press semolina dough in the pan

Then, press semolina dough in the pan

Add akawi cheese

Add akawi cheese*

*you might be wondering why the cheese looks crumbled, well that’s because I squeezed the hell out of it!

Preheat the oven to 175 C

Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese melts completely.

Remove from oven and leave to rest for 15 minutes

Flip the pan into a serving plate

Then, flip the pan onto a serving plate

Meanwhile, prepare the sugar syrup.

Sugar Syrup

2 cups sugar

2 cups water

1 tablespoon orange blossom water (ماء زهر)

In a small saucepan on medium heat, mix sugar, water and orange blossom water until boiling. Boil for a few minutes until it’s syrupy then remove from heat.

To decorate:

Pour the sugar syrup on the kanafa and sprinkle some chopped pistachio.

And there it is! Kanfa bil smeed

It was quite the hit at my grandmother’s last night. I will definitely be making more of this.


15 thoughts on “Experiment 1: Kanafa bil smeed

  1. This sounds yummy! You should have experimented some more when you were here! I might actually get started again with our blogg and publish your Tiramisu recipe. Love, S

  2. Just a suggestion rather than a cheese cloth buy a white qutra and use it.. It simple cheep and works just as good !!Welcome back budour.. was wondering what happened to your desserts

  3. I liked the crust, but I found the cheese still salty. Maybe you need to soak the cheese and change the water more. And by the way, did any of the recipes you found call for Nabulsi cheese? I always thought that was the type of cheese traditionally used.

  4. Also, isn’t nabulsi cheese the one with habba sooda? Anyway, I can always try it with Nabulsi. I still have semolina dough left.

  5. Pingback: Kanafa bil smeed: v.2: with ricotta cheese « The Oven Experiments

  6. Pingback: Kanafa with semolina and nabulsi cheese « The Oven Experiments

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