The Trader Joe’s freezer section is filled with all kinds of delicious desserts, from classics that they carry all year to holiday favorites. Trader Joe’s Kunefe is one that caught my eye recently because it is a dessert that I wasn’t previously familiar with. I actually had it just before the holidays and enjoyed it so much that I ended up serving it a few times – even though I’m not getting around to posting this quick review until now.
Kunefe is a Middle Eastern dessert that is made with thin shreds of phyllo-like dough that is layered with cheese and soaked in a sweet syrup. This particular version is a round that is slightly smaller than a dinner plate. It is filled with a blend of cheeses, soaked in a honey syrup and topped with chopped pistachios after baking. It comes frozen and in its own baking tray, which is very convenient because it means that you need to do virtually no prep to make this at home.
The Kunefe bakes up to be golden and crisp, with a cheesy center that has just the right amount of stretch to it when the dessert is still hot from the oven. You pour the packet of syrup over the hot pastry before serving. I felt that there could have been a bit more syrup, but overall the dessert was absolutely delicious. The crisp pastry was the perfect contrast to the soft cheese, which had a hint of tanginess that balanced perfectly with the honey syrup.
This dish is so delicious and it really exceeded my expectations. It’s a cross between baklava and my grandma’s famous cheese blintzes, but better than both. The pastry is crisp and delicate, while the cheese inside it is both slightly salty and well-sweetened with honey syrup. My grandma’s cheese blintzes didn’t include mozzarella, but it adds a great elasticity to the cheeses in the filling. The pistachios on top were a nice touch, however there would have had to be more of them to really make this a nutty dessert. All in all, it is extremely tasty and well worth trying. The package delivers a satisfying serving for two, so pick up more than one if you want to serve more than a few bites to a group of four or more.