Some time ago, a new face on the blog’s comments (actually I haven’t seen her face) suggested a recipe she was making. I got excited, connected with Lara and we followed each other on twitter. She was making a traditional milk pudding – Mhallabiyeh – flavored with rose and orange blossom water and topped with coarsely ground pistachios.
I have never made this dessert even though it is a classic Levantine dessert. It’s been a while I haven’t had it either. I was getting too excited about all the cakes, cupcakes, pies and other western desserts that I’m forgetting about our delicious simple desserts I enjoyed all the time when I was young like this mhallabiyeh, or milk pudding. Grandma used to make it all the time along with Rice Pudding (Riz B-halib) and Jello. The name she used for mhallabiyeh in her Palestinian accent was“Heitaliyi”.
It’s true this is a very simple recipe but I made it a couple of times before feeling confident about sharing it, giving it a twist you will certainly root for. The first time I made it, I added one less tablespoon of sugar, but I like my desserts a little bit less sweet, so I decided to skip another spoon of sugar. I decided for round 2 to make it with no sugar or artificial sweeteners. So I used none other than honey. You get a better flavor at the same time you will worry less about your sugar intake (any nutritionist in the house to provide more accurate information?)
I decided to go off-track in the second batch. I mixed half a cup of mhallabiyeh with chocolate hazelnut spread then topped it with more plain mhallabiyeh and sprinkled ground biscuits on top. In another bowl, I poured the mix and topped it with coarsely ground roasted hazelnuts. In another, I dripped some cherry syrup from a cherry jam container mom made last year, poured more mhallabiyeh and drizzled a few dots of syrup that made the white mhallabiyeh mix float in a dark red cherry pool. I don’t recommend it. It was a mess. But feel free to try the others, they are a nice change from the classic.
For vegans or those with lactose or cow milk allergies, I tried Mhallabiyeh with almond milk and it worked well. Try it yourself.
The photos of the classical bowls with pistachios on top are all almond milk mhallabiyeh. The others are the ones with cow milk.
Mhallabiyeh – Traditional Milk Pudding
makes 4 medium bowls
- 4 cups milk (room temperature) – Use almond milk for vegan alternative
- 4 tbsp honey – Use agave or sweetener of choice for vegan alternative
- 6 tablespoons cornflour
- 1 tbsp Rose water
- 1 tbsp Orange blossom water
- Ground pistachios
- Dissolve cornstarch in 3/4 cup milk and sit aside
- In a saucepan, over medium heat, pour the remaining 3 1/4 cups of milk with all the honey. Mix well until honey melts and the mixture steams. Keep stirring to avoid scalding the milk
- Stir the cornstarch and milk mixture and pour over the steaming hot milk
- Stir well until it begins to boil and bubble, around 3-4 minutes
- Remove from heat and stir in rose water and orange blossom water
- Pour in bowl and garnish with ground pistachios or any of the suggested toppings in the photos