Paradise custard. also called as Yakh dar behesht or Mahlebieh, is one of the oldest recorded puddings in the world. the name can be translated to “Ice in Paradise” and is a classic throughout the Persian world. the dessert has innumerable variations, with rice, nuts and other ingredients that subtly change the texture and flavour of this dessert. On this blog is another Syrian version of this exotic dessert.
This is a very light and subtle version of this dessert. The absence of rice makes this custard silky and it should feel like you are eating clouds. The flavours are light, simple aromatic rose water and the crunch of nuts makes this dessert complete. The elegance of this dish is in its texture, do not over-sweeten it or you will lose the aromas of rose water and do not add to much cornstarch or you will make it too thick. I love this dessert for its subtlety and it sets an elegant tone to the dessert course. I have also used this dish as a first dessert and followed it with a heavier dessert, usually chocolate.
This was one of my first cookbooks and one that took me to the world of Persian cooking. Najmieh is considered one of the masters of Persian cooking and Iranian ceremony. She has published a number of cookbooks, and this one, her first, is hailed as the definitive guide to Persian food. She has won numerous awards for her books and work. This book is phenomenal, and every recipe that I have cooked from it is amazing. This book belongs on everyone's bookshelf, but as a guide to the culture and for the recipes.
For more recipes from this cookbook, click here
3/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup water
3 cups milk
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup rose water
1/4 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted
1/4 cup pistachios, lightly toasted
Dissolve the cornstarch in the water and allow it to sit for 2 hours. Stir the pot occasionally as the cornstarch tends to settle and clump.
Bring the mix to a slow simmer and add the sugar and pour in the milk slowly. The mixture will tend to clump so you need to whisk the mix continually. Cook till the mix just starts to thicken. Add the rose water slowly while whisking and cook till the mix has a light pudding consistency. Take off the heat and allow to cool. Mix the pudding while cooling every 2 minutes so that a layer of thick cream does not form on top.
Pour the custard into a bowl or individual glasses while it is still hot. Cover the bowl/glasses with cling wrap quickly so that a dry layer does not form on top. When cooled decorate with the nuts. Chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours.