Zaatar W Zeit Goes Back to Basics With Knefeh in the Pan


If there’s any one delicacy I’ve been spotting around Beirut more frequently these days, it’s knefeh. Dubbed by some as the cheesecake of the Levant, knefeh is a warm pastry layering mild white cheese and semolina, typically spread inside a round pan. Sugar syrup tinted with rose water and orange blossom water elevates the knefeh from delicious to euphoric.

In Lebanon, a square slice of knefeh is often stuffed inside a sesame parcel-like loaf to facilitate eating on the go. But at home or in restaurants, knefeh is served singly, without any carbs to diminish the transfixing experience.

Just last year, Lebanon’s favorite mankoushe diner Zaatar W Zeit introduced its take on knefeh in the form of the Z Knefeh, a sesame flatbread filled with molten cheese and a smattering of semolina, lightly drizzled with syrup, folded over and sliced into four triangles (LBP 7,500).

This year, to coincide with Ramadan – the informal season of knefeh and all other cheese- and ashta-based novelties – Zaatar w Zeit went back to basics and launched Knefeh in the Pan. Accompanied by small round flatbread embedding sesame seeds, this specialty emerges piping hot in a Staub cast-iron skillet and can then be doused with syrup for a sweeter taste (LBP 9,500).

Zaatar W Zeit's all-new Knefeh in the Pan


Ideally, I’d prefer it to be thicker and more generous on the cheese, as I found it to teeter on the dry side and fall victim to an excess of semolina grains. However, the miniature bread rounds are supple and superb, which is to be expected from the seasoned dough experts at ZWZ.
You can either thread your fork directly through the knefeh and consume sans pain, or as is Lebanese dining custom, take a chunk of knefeh and cluster it in the center of the bread, before finally dipping the pouch in the saccharin bath.

In materials science or mechanics of structures, we call that elasticity!


I’ve actually teamed up with the folks at Zaatar W Zeit to give two lucky winners a $30-gift card for dine-in use at any outlet of their choosing. Check out my Instagram post to submit your name in the draw, and make sure you're following me! Winners will be announced sometime next week, so don’t tarry.

In the meantime, feast your eyes on this close-up.

A close-up for the win!


Zaatar W Zeit
Multiple locations
Delivery hotline: 1523

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