Ahhhhhhhhh, how i love dessert. I especially love pudding and this dessert is an Arabic milk pudding. This is very easy to make and great for when you have a huge party and don't want to spend all day cooking desserts after you already cooked a bunch of food. This can be made many ways and it is the basis for many other desserts like haylatiyeh (unsweetened and thicker and atar is poured over) or riz oo haleeb (rice pudding). This can also be eaten for breakfast with a yummy Arabic cheese sandwich (jibneh bayda and samoon bread). When i make this usually i put it in individual cups because the more you scoop into it the more water might be released. If you are making this for a party then putting it in one large dish is perfect. Here is how i make Mhalabiyeh.First start off with milk (whole milk is preferred but 2% can be used although more starch might be needed)
Corn starch is obviously very essential. I believe back in the olden days they used rice flour to make this. Rice flour works well except that it takes longer to thicken so if that is all you have be patient. Also rice flour, in my opinion, leaves a slight flour texture in the milk pudding.
So while the milk is still cold add in the sugar. Normally i add 1 tablespoon for every cup. Feel free to adjust to your taste, you can taste this at any time in the cooking process.
Mastic or mistica is a resin or sap (i think) from a plant in the Middle East. It is used a lot in Middle Eastern desserts and it really does make a huge difference in taste.
So the mastic comes in like little pebbles. So in order to turn the pebbles into a powder so it can dissolve we need to grind it with some sugar.
So once the milk is warm (not boiling, never boiling until after the corn starch) we add a cornstarch slurry. This just means that you mix corn starch with water (or milk) until it is pourable. So for every cup of milk you need 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.
While the milk is thickening with the cornstarch smash your pistachios for garnish. I just put my nuts in a coffee grinder and....
Then i get finely ground pistachio. Feel free to make it however fine or chunky as you like. Usually Arabic desserts are topped with finely ground pistachios.
So after the milk is thick add the mastic and add rose water and orange blossom water. Then pour the mhalabiyeh in either individual serving bowls or in a large serving bowl (like a Pyrex or something that is all one level, not literally a big bowl.
There are so many ways or garnishing the mhalabiyeh so feel free to be creative. I had some rose jelly so i added some of that as well.
6 cups of milk
6 tablespoons of sugar
6 tablespoons of cornstarch dissolved in water
6 pebbles of mastic ground with sugar
3 teaspoons of rose water
3 teaspoons of orange blossom water
3 tablespoons of whole pistachios ground finely
Shockingly i didn't have a story for this recipe....oh well!