Mahalabia, also known as Mahalabi, is a Middle Eastern dessert of boiled milk, slightly sweetened and flavoured with rose or orange water. Very much like Blanc Mange, it is extremely easy to make, takes only a few minutes, then placed in the fridge to cool.
It’s found in many Middle Eastern countries, with each one claiming ownership; whatever the origin, suffice it to say, if you like milky puddings, this one’s just right for you! I like to use a mixture of fresh milk & evaporated milk, for a slightly creamier end, but feel free to use just milk or a mix of milk and single cream.
During the summer months, when my roses are in full bloom, I always have homemade rose syrup, and this is just one of the few desserts in which I use rose syrup, instead of rose water.
- 200ml fresh whole milk
- 200ml evaporated milk
- 60g caster sugar
- 2 tbsp cornflour, mixed into a paste with 1-2 tbsp milk
- 1-2 tbsp rose water or orange water (to taste)
- finely crushed seeds of 2 cardamoms
- some crushed/flaked nuts (almonds & pistachios are good)
- 2 tsp of rose syrup (optional)
- Combine both types of milk and the sugar in a saucepan or milk pan and stir to mix.
- Bring to boil on medium heat, stirring once or twice to help the sugar dissolve. Watch it carefully as boiling milk will suddenly rise up!
- Once it's just coming to boil, lower the heat completely and add the cornflour paste, stirring immediately.
- Keep stirring until it thickens to the consistency of thick/Greek yoghurt. Shouldn't take more than 2 minutes.
- Take it off the heat, add the rose/orange water & crushed cardamom and stir.
- Pour into serving dishes/cups & place in the fridge to cool for at least 3 hours. It will thicken when cool.
- To serve, drizzle a teaspoon of rose syrup over it (if using) and sprinkle with nuts.
Includes about 3 hours chilling time.
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