There’s something about Arabic desserts that I love. If I had to choose between any Arabic sweet and a piece of cake, the Arabic sweet usually wins out. One of my favorites [there really are too many to name] is Muhallabiyeh مهلبية. I vividly remember eating Muhallabiyeh out of small chilled bowls as a child at my Tayta’s house. So sweet, so cold, and so delicious. No one makes the dessert quite like my Tayta.
At her prime – or at least when she had enough energy to cook – she made some amazing desserts. They were always readily available when I’d visit her. Her apartment hasn’t changed. Well, except for the informal sitting room, where she replaced a worn out couch with a new seating set. Other than that, the apartment hasn’t changed. And I love it that way. I was reminded how familiar the whole place was when I was over there a couple weeks ago. I wanted to spend some time with Tayta, and I dragged myself straight out of work to drink a cup of Arabic coffee and nibble on some chocolates with her. Way over the age of being babied, I still felt like a child in her home. I don’t think that’s going to ever change. But the reality was, instead of her cooking elaborate meals for me, now I was making her dinner (and doing the dishes). Some days when I visit, she’d treat me to some Muhallabiyeh while we’d sit in front of the TV to catch the latest Turkish drama. Secretly, those were my favorite nights.
So following in my Tayta’s oven mitts, I’ve made my first attempt at Muhallabiyeh. Actually, this is my second attempt. My first attempt was a year or so ago and let’s just say, it was a complete flop.
- 4 cups Cold Milk
- 1 cup Sugar
- 4 tablespoons Corn Starch
- 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon Orange Blossom Water
- Raw Pistachios, crushed, for garnish
- In a medium pot add the milk, stir in the sugar and the corn starch making sure to dissolve the corn starch
- Over high heat, begin stirring the milk mixture with a wooden spoon
- You must stir the milk constantly until it boils, if you don't, the bottom of the pan will burn
- Continue stirring until the milk is boiling
- You'll notice the consistency thickening
- Add Orange Blossom Water
- Allow the milk to boil for 10-15 minutes on medium-low heat, while continuing to stir
- Pour the Muhallabiyeh into small glass containers
- Allow the Muhallabiyeh to cool, then cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours
- Remove top the Muhallabiyeh with crushed pistachios before serving
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