A dessert with a long history, dating back perhaps as far as the 10th century, has found its way to Preston. 

House of Knafeh was launched earlier this year after Tasneem Al-Freyah’s nostalgic memories of her mother-in-law’s signature dish led her to bring the exquisite Arab dessert closer to home.

Tasneem, who is also a teacher, reveals the touching story behind her business.

“I’m a British Indian married to an Arab. I met my husband in Dubai. He is originally Syrian.

“The idea for the business came about after my husband would constantly complain he couldn’t find Knafeh’s locally. 

“Growing up, his mum would make it for him weekly.

“We tried a few places, however, he wasn’t satisfied. That is when I decided it was best if we just made them at home. We decided to use my mother-in-law’s recipe.

“House of Knafeh evokes fond memories of my husband’s childhood.

“My husband is amazing in the kitchen. He made the very first Knafeh’s and then I added the final touches.

“We really hope we do my mother-in-law’s recipe justice.”

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Pictures: @house_of_knafeh

Knafeh, believed to have originated in the Palestinian streets of Nablus, is both sweet and savoury, made with shredded vermicelli-like pastry noodles, soaked in a sweet sugary syrup, although the recipes for Knafeh are subject to fierce debate.

House of Knafeh have created their own variety on the traditional food. "We have given Knafeh’s a twist and we bake them as cupcakes. 

“Very soon we will be introducing the original pie shaped Knafeh’s too. 

“Typically, a box of 12 Knafeh cupcakes would take us up to an hour to prepare and bake.

“Our most popular and what we like to make frequently is Knafeh filled with cheese and pistachio. 
“We also cater for vegans. 

“To give this dessert the final touch, a sugar-based syrup is drizzled on top for that ultimate gooey sensation.

“We are looking into introducing other Arabic desserts such as baklava’s and basboosa (sweet cake).”
Tasneem admits her husband is more skilled in the kitchen and guided her through the preparation process. House of Knafeh has earned their recognition through word-of-mouth and social media using their Instagram page @house_of_knafeh.

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The homemade traditional middle eastern dessert, Tasneem believes, is so popular in Preston’s culinary scene due to it being a novelty dish.

“People are intrigued by Knafeh as it’s not your everyday dessert and not readily available in every dessert shop you go to. 

“It has gained widespread popularity as it’s new and exciting and the taste differs significantly from British desserts. 

“My mother-in-law was over the moon when we launched the business. 

“She didn’t understand my idea of desserts which entailed waffles and crepes. They weren’t sweet enough as Arabic delicacies are extremely sweet.

“No-one makes knafeh’s like her. 

“Those that have travelled to the Middle East and tried this soul nourishing delicacy first-hand want to continue the experience when they get back home. 

“Dessert lovers devour the sweet-savoury, melt-in-your mouth texture.

“This is where House of Knafeh comes in.

“Our authentic delicacy embodies the ultimate in comfort food.”