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Muhalabiye, the Middle Eastern Answer to Panna Cotta

Muhalabiye (Milk Pudding Infused with Flower Water)

This pudding is refreshing and relatively healthy as desserts go. It’s probably considered similar to an amped up version of its’ Italian cousin, the panna cotta. Muhalabiye is often eaten with a layer of dried apricot compote on top,or can be served plain with a garnish of pistachios and/or blanched almonds. The best part of muhalabiye (other than eating it) is that it can be made ahead a day or two. Some versions have rosewater in it too but I like it without.

Muhalabiye, a staple dessert found in many Middle Eastern countries

Muhalabiye (6-8 ramekins)

Prep Ease: No Worries

Level: Easy


3 cups milk

1cup heavy/whipping cream (you can also just use all milk, 4 cups, and no cream))

7 tablespoons sugar

6 tablespoons cornstarch

Pinch of mastic crushed in ½ teaspoon sugar (optional)

2 tablespoons flower water

How To:

Reserve half a cup of the cold milk and dilute the cornstarch in it. Pour all the milk (including the milk/cornstarch slurry) and cream in a non-stick pot. Add the sugar and crushed mastic and stir the milk with a wire whisk on low to medium heat. Once the milk begins to boil and thicken (about 8 minutes), close the heat and add the flower water. Pour in serving dishes and, while the milk is still hot, cover the puddings with plastic wrap so skin doesn’t form. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Garnish with crushed pistachio, slivered blanched almonds or a dried apricot compote.

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