Künefe with Olive Thyme’s Yalcin Karaman

Künefe with Olive Thyme’s Yalcin Karaman

Künefe is a traditional Middle Eastern dessert made with kadayif/kataifi, clarified butter, sugar syrup, and fresh, soft unsalted cheese. Yalcin Karaman from Brisbane’s Olive Thyme shows us how to make this sweet treat.

About Olive Thyme:
Situated in a beautiful heritage-listed building in Albion, Brisbane, Olive Thyme is bringing Turkish culture to Australia. The restaurant’s focus is on bringing people together while incorporating both modern methods and traditional Turkish inspiration. The team at Olive Thyme pride themselves on the warm and heartfelt atmosphere of their restaurant. Sibel and Yalcin (who features as the chef in this Masterclass) have worked hard to create a space to be proud of. Both migrated to Australia from Ankara and were determined to bring the warmth of Turkish cooking with them.

Künefe with Yalcin Karaman from Olive Thyme


For the syrup:
5 cups (500g) granulated sugar
5 cups (500ml) water
2 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

For greasing the pan:
10in frying pan or 5 single-serve künefe moulds
4 tbsp (60g) clarified butter (see instructions below) at room temperature

For the pastry:
1 packet (375g) Kadayıf (kadaifi/kataifi), shredded phyllo
1/2 cup (100g) clarified butter (see instructions below) melted
250g fresh mozzarella

For the garnish:
Finely ground roasted hazelnuts for topping


To make the clarified butter
Melt the desired amount of butter in a saucepan over low heat, without stirring approximately 15-20 minutes. At this point you will see the milk solids separate from the fat. Remove from heat and rest 5 minutes. Skim off foam if any. Using muslin cloth or fine sieve Carefully pour off clear fat leaving behind the milk solids that have settled to the bottom of the pan. Once cooled down, put it in a glass jar and store it in fridge.

To make the syrup
In a medium pot, add all the syrup ingredients and bring to a boil on medium heat. Boil for further 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

To grease the pans
Generously grease one large non-stick pan with clarified butter.

To arrange the pastry
Finely chop the Kadayıf into 1in (0.5cm) pieces and place in a large bowl.


Pour the clarified butter over the chopped Kadayıf and toss to thoroughly coat.

Press half of the chopped coated Kadayıf across the bottom of the prepared pans.

Place the mozzarella on top of the first layer of Kadayif.


Cover the cheese with another layer of the Kadayif. Press down firmly to completely enclose the layer of mozzarella. (It needs to be pressed down well using your hands so everything sets well.)


Place the pan over low heat. Cook until the bottom is golden. (Roughly around 4–5 minutes).

Carefully flip the pastry onto a plate (larger in diameter than the pan).


Place the pan back over low heat and cook the other side until golden on the bottom, another 4–5 minutes.

Remove the pan from heat and immediately pour the desired amount of cooled syrup over the pastry to soak.

Serve the künefe hot while the cheese is still melted and stretchy. Sprinkle with hazelnuts and serve with gelato. 


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