Kunafa or كنافة is a traditional dessert in all Middle Eastern countries. Kunafa made with cream (Ashta) filling between two layers of crispy Kunafa. Drizzled with a sweet syrup and topped with some pistachio slices.
In a small saucepan, add sugar and water over high heat and bring to a boil (don't stir it, that will cause crystals to form in the syrup). Once it is boiling, turn the heat down, add the glucose liquid and let it simmer for 5-6 minutes.
Next, add vanilla extract and lemon juice, stir, then turn off the heat. Put the syrup in a cool place and let it cool down completely.
Preparing the cream (Ashta):
In a small saucepan, add sugar, cornflour and milk, stir well to combine (use a whisk). Keep mixing until there are no lumps at all.
Put the saucepan over medium heat and constantly stir for 2-3 minutes until it comes to a boil. Keep whisking until the mixture thickens. Once it has reached the consistency of the cream , add vanilla extract, stir and turn off the heat.
Pour the cream into a bowl, then cover the top with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming, leave it to cool down completely.
Preparing the Kunafa:
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Put the Kunafa in a large bowl, then use your hands to tear it or use kitchen scissors to cut it into 2-3 cm strips. Try to separate the individual strands from each other. When you have a pile of fine strips of Kunafa, pour the melted ghee into the Kunafa and mix it thoroughly (rub the Kunafa with ghee using your hands).
Grease a 10-inch baking pan with butter. Spread the butter well in the bottom and the sides of the pan.
Grap a handful of Kunafa and add it to the pan, fluff it up while adding it, so you don't get any clumps in the Kunafa. Keep adding it until you cover the pan bottom with Kunafa. After that, use any heavy object such as a measuring cup to press on the Kunafa until you get a flat layer of Kunafa.
Now add more Kunafa around the edges of the tray and press on them as well.
Pour the cream filling in the centre of the pan and spread it out over the first Kunafa layer. Once the cream is spread, fold in any excess Kunaff walls down over the layer.
Start gently covering the cream layer with the rest of Kunafa. Once you have created a thin layer of the Kunafa on the top, press it down gently using both your hands (don't press on it so hard that the cream comes out of the Kunafa).
Put the pan in the middle of the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the top becomes golden brown. Take it out of the oven.
As soon as you remove the Kunafa from the oven, pour the syrup evenly over the top. You will hear a sizzle as you pour the syrup into the Kunafa. Let it sit for 10 minutes so all the syrup is absorbed.
Place a serving plate over the baking pan, and flip the Kunafa onto the plate. Decorate it with the chopped pistachio, then cut it and serve.
Use your hands (don't use a spoon or spatula) to rub the Kunafa dough with the ghee until all the ghee is absorbed.
Drizzle the Kunafa with the syrup as soon as you take it out of the oven (hot); the syrup should be cold.
I keep my uncooked Kunafa dough in the freezer for up to 3 months.