It looks like the deep-dish dessert cheese pizza of my dreams. I’m Lawrence Weibman and on this week’s episode of The Explorers, we’re here in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, finding relief from the cold with one of the warmest, cheesiest, and most colorful desserts you’ve ever seen. It’s a Middle Eastern specialty called knafeh, and some of the best is right here at Tanoreen. It is really easy to be happy here, whether you’re craving Middle Eastern comfort food or searching for an adventure. You’re eating at a restaurant but it may as well be the home kitchen of chef and owner Rawia Bishara. And she’ll treat you as well as her own children. You do like cheese, don’t you? Who doesn’t? Looking for something that’s not on the menu? Call Tanoreen a few hours before you get there, and guess what? Rawia will create your dream dish. People love to eat, if you give them good food, it’s the greatest thing in life. All of my favorite foods, everything you need to be a healthy boy, dough, sugar, and butter. When you come to Tanoreen you’re here to feast, but you’ve got to save room for the most famous dessert in the Middle East, knafeh. You’ll find different kinds of knafeh all over the Middle East and North Africa but it was believed to have originated in Palestine thousands of years ago. And at Tanoreen, the original recipe is in good hands. I got inspired by my mom and how good she was, and my dad and how good of an eater he was. Knafeh starts with butter and a lot of it. The better the butter is, the better the knafeh is. Rawia uses ghee, or clarified butter, which is basically pure butter fat, aka butter on steroids. This is really what comes out when you eat the knafeh. It’s mixed into shredded fillo dough which gets pressed into a round baking pan and mixed with more butter and natural red dye for color. That’s going to be our first layer of the knafeh. Cheese lovers rejoice: instead of one cheese, Rawia uses two. The traditional unsalted cheese curd is mixed with Rawia’s own homemade cream cheese, to ensure a rich, soul-satisfying knafeh. You are not just a chef, you’re like a food superhero. Another layer of shredded fillo and ghee is pressed onto the cheese and it’s all baked in the oven for 15 minutes. The most exciting part of the process comes next, the flip, but if all goes well… magic. The hot knafeh is bathed in simple syrup infused with rosewater and orange blossom, and the scent of hot butter and sweet perfume is intoxicating. Wow. The final step is a flurry of finely chopped pistachios before it’s finally time to slice and eat. If you thought cheesecake was the best cheesy dessert, forget about it. Because this is the lovechild of a deep-dish pizza and a mozzarella stick. And covered itself in crispy fillo dough, sweet syrup with the scent of rose, buttery pistachios, and in every single bite, transports you to a Middle Eastern hillside where you’re sitting there basking in the sun and asking yourself, what else matters when you’ve got knafeh?