Kataifi Kunefe Walnut and Cinnamon Syrup Muffins

Walnut Kataifi Muffin

When Celia posted her IMK post in May, she listed a packet of Kataifi asking for suggestions on how to use the packet. I have to admit; I got so excited about making Greek style Walnut Kataifi and started obsessing over it, salivating over the prospect of popping a sugar and cinnamon filled Kataifi in my mouth.

The dessert we’re making is called Kataifi, as is the name of the packet of soft flaky, noodle like pastry. It can be found in most deli fridges. The Greeks call the dessert Kataifi, and Kunefe in the Middle East.

The day after I saw Celias post, I went to my local deli in my work lunch break and picked up packed of Kataifi eager to get home and make the dessert of my dreams. I brought the packet back to work and stored it in the staff fridge so it stays fresh. Then the unthinkable happened. Someone stole my packet! I was so upset and started to point fingers at my employees, give everyone around me the evil eye and no longer trusted any of my colleagues. I raced to the deli after work but it was closed for the day. I was devastated.

I have since left that workplace. I told my friends who work at other companies and they too don’t trust placing items in the communal staff fridge. Appealing lunches and grocery items have disappeared. Who would do that?!!

So fast forward another week and we went to my mother’s place for dinner. She hadn’t made dessert but said she’d do it when I arrived so “we could take pictures for your blog” Isn’t she sweet?! A packet of Kataifi was chilling in the fridge and I was thrilled!

So here we are in my childhood home, my mother’s warm hands making sweet, luscious, nutty, crunchy, buttery Kataifi.

Kataifi/Kunefe Walnut and Cinnamon Syrup Muffins

  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 1 packet (or 375g) Kataifi pastry
  • 250g butter

For the syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Strips of Lemon rind
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Start by making your sugar syrup by combining the sugar, water, lemon rind and lemon juice into a pot and bringing it to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and let it boil for 15 minutes until it reduces and thickens. Remove from the heat and let it cool down.

lemon rind and cinnamon sugar syrup

Melt the block of butter (yes it’s a lot of butter but it’s totally worth the calories!!) meanwhile empty the packet of Kataifi into a bowl and gently pry the ‘noodles’ until they’re lightly separated. Pour the melted butter onto the Kataifi and rub it evenly in until the Kataifi is completely yellow.

Kataifi pastry and melted butter

Kataifi pastry and melted butter

Pour melted butter into the Kataifi pastry and use your fingers to evenly distribute

Pour melted butter into the Kataifi pastry and use your fingers to evenly distribute

Meanwhile crush the walnuts in a processor, mortar and pestle or by placing them into a zip lock bag and going for your life with a rolling pin

Combine the crushed walnuts with the cinnamon and sugar.

Now to roll! Place a handful of the buttered Kataifi onto a clean surface and level it out flat. Place two tablespoons of the walnut mix onto the top centre. Fold in the sides of the Kataifi and roll the pastry. As we’re using a muffin tray, the shape doesn’t matter as long as the walnuts are enclosed in the pastry.


Place it into a muffin tin. You don’t need to pre grease the tin as your Kataifi pastry is laden with enough butter to ensure it doesn’t catch.

Kataifi in muffin tray

Repeat with the remaining pastry and walnuts.

Bake the Kataifi muffins at 180 degrees for 40 minutes or until golden brown. Pour the cooled down sugar syrup directly into the muffin tray evenly distributing the liquid gold between the muffins.

Kataifi pastry

Allow the sugar syrup to absorb into the Kataifi muffins for at least an hour if you can.


Enjoy with a hot cup of tea. Bliss!

Walnut Kataifi Muffin


33 thoughts on “Kataifi Kunefe Walnut and Cinnamon Syrup Muffins

  1. Lisa, that is wonderful, thank you! I ended up using the pastry for a savoury meal – it wasn’t very pretty or blogworthy, but it was delicious! How fabulous to see how it’s supposed to be used! And what a bugger about having your pastry stolen out of the fridge – seriously, who nicks uncooked pastry?

  2. We used to go to a Greek festival every year in Knoxville, Tennessee at the local Greek Orthodox church. This was the first thing I’d order (once you knew the drill, you knew you could order weeks ahead of time and not have to fight the crowds)

    I’ve never made it at home but I’ve used kataifi dough quite a few times.

  3. Someone you worked with stole your groceries? That really is unacceptable. You would think some things would be off limits. At my little guy’s school, he has to wear a polo fleece. He’s been at the school less than three years. In that time I have had to buy him seven polo fleece jackets because his keep being stolen. The last time it happened I was so furious I sent out an email to everyone in his class asking the parents to check their child’s bag. It wasn’t recovered. Back to the uniform shop I went. This time I sewed TWO name tags on the jacket thinking it was a good deterrent – nope! Lasted three weeks. But the day it was stolen can you believe someone handed me the first jacket that was stolen. It had been returned and still had his name in it. It’s now two sizes too small and it’s so worn it looks like it has been dragged through a hedge backwards. I couldn’t believe that the person who stole it threw it back into lost property – probably because they had outgrown it. But rather than buy another one, I’m making my little guy wear it. Unbelievable. What sort of people steal another child’s school uniform? xx

    • Oh Charlie, I couldn’t help but giggle through your story. I can totally relate to your frustrations however what made me actually loud out load was that you made Alfie wear the tight worn out jacket! Hehe I’d so do the same thing out of merit and stubbornness 🙂 I hope no more jackets go missing for you and Alfie xx

  4. Oh my goodness they sound like my idea of heaven in a mouthful! Yum!
    That’s so terrible that someone stole it. When I worked in an office I had a container in the fridge, sealed with my name on it with a few things like butter and vegemite and people would still use it!

  5. Your Mother sounds like a real sweetheart, holding off dessert so that we would all benefit. As I looked at all of your beautiful photos, I realized that I’ve seen this dessert before.It was either at a Middle Eastern grocery or at my Italian market, where they have a section of Greek pastries in the bakery dept. Either way, I need to track them down. If the Gourmet Wog says that they are ” … sweet, luscious, nutty, crunchy, buttery …” I must find and taste one. Thanks, Lisa, for sharing your family’s recipe for a great treat.

  6. It’s terrible that someone stole your pastry from the fridge… but it did give you a story for a great blog post – crime, intrigue, and a delicious-sounding recipe to finish it all off!

  7. Lisa, is this diet food?? If it is, I might make it. I have some chopped walnuts mixed with sugar in the freezer. They are left over from making ma’mools. Your recipe would be a perfect use for them.

  8. Pingback: Lisa’s Kunefe Walnut and Cinnamon Syrup Muffins | Passion Fruit Garden

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s