Talk about the oriental and Middle Eastern desserts that tickle the senses with their aromas and flavors. Ashtalieh/ Ashtalleya is a Lebanese classic made out of simple cupboard ingredients. The pudding is so easy to make and the sugar syrup is equally simple. I enriched the flavor by adding a handful of desiccated coconut that added a delightful rich flavor – perfect for my taste.
Ashtalieh is one of my favorite desserts to make when entertaining as it can be prepared one or two days before and kept in the fridge.
Unlike custards, Ashtalieh features no eggs. It is thickened with cornstarch; a simple dish that needs just the right proportion of ingredients. Some milk, cornstarch, mastic gum, orange blossom water or rose water.
Ashtalieh features no sugar in the pudding, it is served with sugar syrup on the side
Many people are confused with Ashtalieh and Muhallabia. Both desserts are milky, both are thickened with cornstarch and both are spooned and served in ramekins. Ashtalieh features no sugar in the pudding, it is served with sugar syrup on the side while the pudding in Muhallabia is cooked with sugar.
With few ingredients in your pantry, you will get a gourmet tasty result. It is a perfect dessert to end up a hearty meal – a great make ahead dessert!
You may need to double the recipe if you are serving a large group of people. The recipe makes about 4- 5 ramekins.
- 6 cups/ 11/2 litres whole milk
- 1/2 cup cornstarch/ corn flour
- 1 cup desiccated coconut, or shredded coconut
- ½ teaspoon mastic gum, crushed with a pinch of sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
- 2 cups sugar syrup
- ½ cup pistachio nuts for garnish, optional
Prepare the sugar syrup.
- To prepare the pudding: Place the milk, desiccated coconut, cornstarch and crushed mastic in a pot. Place the pot over medium to high heat, whisking constantly until the mixture boils and thickens. Add the orange blossom water and whisk one last time to infuse the flavors together.
- Divide the pudding into small ramekins. Set aside to completely cool down.
- In the meantime, grind the pistachio nuts using a food processor.
- Garnish the pudding with some pistachios, optional. Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Drizzle some sugar syrup over each ramekin just upon serving. Enjoy!