Kunafa by Mahzabin Mahmud Mou

2-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/4 cups water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons orange blossom water

Cream filling:
1/2 cup rice flour
4 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons sugar

1 Packet Lassa Semai
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, melted

2/3 cup pistachios, chopped

1. Syrup: In a small saucepan on high heat add water, sugar and lemon juice, bring to a boil then reduce to low, cook for 5 minutes. Cook until thick, like a syrup (if it becomes to thick add a small amount of water). Add orange blossom water, cool then chill.

2. In a medium saucepan on high heat, add milk. Have a whisk and gently pour rice flour into milk, whisk vigorously until there are no lumps what so ever. Add cream, mix well. Reduce heat to low and allow simmering 10 minutes, whisking through out every minute. Add sugar, set aside.

3. In an extra large bowl, add Lassa Semai breaking all strings apart with hands. Add melted butter over Lassa Semai mixing well with hands, until covered. In an 11-12 inch pie pan, add half of Kataifi pastry, press down. Add cream filling, smoothing out then add other half of Kataifi pastry, press down. Bake in a pre-heated 350 F oven for 45 minutes.

4. Take a sharp knife and run along Lassa Semai’s sides. Cover pan with plate and gently flip. Pour half of sugar syrup over semai; reserve other half to serve at table. Garnish with pistachios.

Yields: 10 servings