August is a month of many celebrations. Birthdays, anniversaries and lots and lots of dessert. Given we are in the holiest of months – Ramadan – the first celebration of yesterday saw the replacement of the traditional birthday cake with the uber traditional Arabic “knaffeh“. Now there are many variations on this rich and syrupy dessert and many will strongly argue for the reasons behind the deliciousness of the version they prefer. You typically lean towards one base. It is an intriguingly patriotic type of dessert.
Yesterday, we celebrated with both versions, known as “kheshneh” (rough) and “na3meh” or (fine) in English. This is because the family is not unified in its love towards one. You can see the patriotism point I was making! The difference between these two is in the dough. Both are assemled similarly: a base of cheese – wonderfully soft and melted when warm – covered with a thick layer of dough, topped with crushed pistacios and drizzled with an incredible amount of that sugary-sweet gooey syrup. The ” knaffe kheshneh” has a hair-like dough tinted a bright orange color with a bit of a crunch. The “knaffeh na3meh” has more of a compact rich dough that is soft, more buttery and more indulgent. You can see where my allegiance goes!
Most Arabic desserts are similar in their construction. I also brought home some of the delicious desserts that are triangular in shape, known as “mtaba2”. This consists of a phyllo dough filled with cream or cheese and once again topped with crushed pistacios and drizzled with that famous syrup known as “atter”. These are an absolute favorite of mine.
Mutaba2 or Triangles (my creatively inventive English name!)
Happy Birthday dad.
Still a few more celebrations to go…stay tuned for more sugary love!