02/12/13 9:26am

Kanafeh, the Lebanese Lasagna of Desserts, at Wafa’s

The  Lebanese lasagna.of desserts.

A gooey mantle of warm cheese awaits beneath the crust.

I’d already eaten a sandwich the size of a stout lad’s forearm, yet I couldn’t pass up dessert. The spectacular Lebanese home cooking of Wafa Chami combined with her warm hospitality always piques my appetite. Ordering dessert was not Wafa’s idea, though. Her son, Yusef, who helps run the restaurant along with the rest of the family told me I had to try the kanafeh ($7). But first a strong cup of cardamom-scented coffee, thick and pitch black.

The kanafeh arrived with a knife and fork. Unlike its daintier cousin baklava, kanafeh is practically a meal in itself, a veritable Lebanese lasagna of desserts. A two-cheese blend of ricotta and slightly salty akawi is sandwiched between layers of semolina and filaments of vermicelli-like kataifi dough. The whole thing is anointed with syrup, strewn with pistachios, and crowned with rose-scented candied orange blossoms. Served warm it is a formidable dessert.  Sweet and filled with just enough gooey akawi cheese and rich ricotta, there’s no need for cream and sugar in that tiny cup of coffee. Actually the high-test brew is a perfect foil to one of the richest sweetest desserts you’ll ever have.

Wafa’s,  100-05 Metropolitan Ave., Forest Hills, 718-880-2055

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