Syrian saffron milk pudding (Muhallebi)

A milk pudding is the most basic of all desserts, essentially thickened milk and sugar. Countless versions of this dessert exist based on culture, country and region, some scented with floral elements like rose water or orange blossom water, or even matcha tea, other with nuts, and even rice pudding, tapioca pudding and chocolate pudding can be considered extensions of this dessert.

The most essential feature of any milk pudding is mouth feel, the texture should be rich, silky, luxurious, but yet light and delicate, it is a super difficult balance to achieve. The super delicate pudding should be on your tongue for an instant leaving behind flavors that linger.

This milk pudding come close to perfection. Light yet luxurious with the scent of saffron, balanced with rose and orange blossom water and topped with crunchy pistachios. The delicate soft pudding is silky on the palate and melts away in a moment leaving lingering flavors and you craving for more. Yes this is one of those regal desserts.

This cookbook is so much more than a collection of recipes, but a history of a culture and its contribution to the cuisines of the world. The author has travelled extensively to research this cookbook, and this is evident in the introduction to the book and each recipe. Filled with historical notes and tidbits of information, i can sit and read this cookbook as a novel. You will definitely see me cook from here again.

For more recipes from the amazing cookbook, click here.




Ingredients:

3 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

A good pinch of saffron

3/4 cup sugar

4 1/2 tablespoons corn starch

1 teaspoon orange blossom water

1/2teaspoon rose water

1/4 teaspoon mastic, powdered

4 tablespoons pistachio nuts, lightly toasted and roughly chopped


Mix the milk, cream, saffron and sugar and allow to steep for 30-45 minutes to allow the saffron to infuse the milk.


Add the cornstarch to a small bowl and add about 5 tablespoons of the steeped milk. Whisk to dissolve the cornstarch. Pour this mix into the rest of the milk and bring to a boil, whisking the milk all the while so the cornstarch does not clump up. Once the milk starts to boil, turn down the heat to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes till thickened. You should be whisking the milk continuously all the while, the milk should begin to foam and form small bubbles and incorporate air to make the dessert light and smooth. Once the milk has reached a consistency desired, that of a light cream, take off the heat. Taste and adjust sugar as needed. Stir in the orange blossom water, rose water and the mastic. Whisk well to mix and dissolve the mastic.


Pour into a shallow bowl or glasses for serving. Top with the slivered pistachios.

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