What to do when its 115F outside and the sun is shining? Stay inside, surrounded by endless pots of tea and plenty of sweets. I wish I could spend more time here (we’ll have to figure out how to get more of the Middle East in my life), because there is much to learn and devour when it comes to desserts. All these flavors! And textures! So intense, so wonderful.
We’ll start with Sahlab (سحلب), a hot creamy milk-based drink. Sahlab is the name of the drink, and also the name of the flour that makes this drink so rich and velvety. At Four Seasons Doha they mix and top it with sesame seeds, coconut, raisins, and nuts. And just enough sugar for a touch of sweetness. They also make ice cream and puddings with sahlab…on the to-do list.
You know about my longstanding affair with avocado shakes. And here they blend it with milk (can also use soy milk…or ice cream!), honey, and a mix of fresh and dried dates. Love getting little bites of sweets dates in each sip.
This is Mahalabiya (مهلبية), a custard with Egyptian origins. It’s served cold, delicate and fragrant with rosewater. Also involved: pistachio and almonds, dates and apricots.
And don’t forget about the ghorayebah and baklavamentioned in our last post.
At last…Om Ali (ام على)! It’s like a combo of bread pudding and baklava, crazy good. Served hot with a little cup of steamed milk on the side. Mixed in is raisins and almonds. A bit of cinnamon and toasted pine nuts. Coconut and rosewater! It’s baked till the top forms this sort of golden, crisp layer. Dive in, let the steam out, devour! I love this dessert…
…so much that I had it again (for breakfast) on another occasion ^-^
We’re going back into the archives to revisit these classic posts by James Norwood Pratt. This post includes two different multi-part sequences: “The Lexicographer” and “Porcelain Ballast”. We have added a link to the end of each one to take you to the next if you would like to read … Continue reading
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