Kinafa – Traditional Lebanese Sweet Breakfast

Kinafa - Traditional Lebanese Sweets

Kinafa is a traditional Lebanese sweet that’s popular for breakfast, mainly on Sundays. Usually the whole family gathers to enjoy this warm dish as a lazy and rich breakfast.

Cooling time 30 minutes

3 cups (660 g) caster sugar
1½ cups (375 ml) water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp orange blossom water
1 tsp rosewater, plus 1 tbsp extra
1 cup (160 g) coarse semolina
4 cups (1 litre) full-cream milk
300 ml single cream
50 g unsalted butter, plus 1 tsp extra for greasing tray
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


[1] To make the sugar syrup, combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and reduce the syrup for around 7 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Add lemon juice, orange blossom water and 1 tsp rosewater. Set aside to cool, then chill until cold.

[2] Preheat oven to 180˚ C / 355˚ F. Combine semolina, milk, cream, butter and 1 tbsp rosewater in a large saucepan. Place over high heat, bring to the boil, all the while stirring. Lower the heat and continue stirring for 5 minutes, or until smooth and firm.

[3] Spread the extra butter on the bottom of the baking tray (about 20 x 30 cm / 8 x 12 inch), then scatter with half the breadcrumbs. Scatter with mozzarella and pour the cooked semolina mixture on top. Gently smooth the surface and cover with remaining breadcrumbs.

[4] Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm and pour the sugar syrup on each piece individually as desired.