Muhalabiyeh is Arab-style milk pudding infused with a touch of rose and orange blossom waters, adorned with pistachios & honey. It’s no wonder it’s such a popular dessert. It’s the ultimate no-fuss dessert and candy for your eyes.
Muhalabiyeh – Arab-style Milk Pudding
Muhalabiyeh is the ultimate low-fuss, high reward dessert. It’s kinda like a man’oush (A.K.A Arab-style pizza); even which it’s mediocre, it’s still good. Still, when it’s great, it’s transcendent, to the point to spark fantasies like fictional like memories of exotic places may have never been.
So how does the Muhalabiyeh qualify for this transcendent status? Hello TEXTURE! It’s not Jello or creamy like soup, but it’s smooth like pudding that’s a little stiff at the first spoon digging in and then it’s followed by soft and creamy delight. Mubalaibyeh is just the right amount of sweetness and creaminess that would leave your feeling weighed down after eating it. It’s no wonder you’ll find it everywhere in the Middle East.
Ingredients you need to make muhalabieh.
Milk. Milk is an essential ingredient for this recipe. If you have a milk allergy or intolerance, you can substitute with nut, soy, or coconut milk if you would like to make this recipe even more decadent. You can replace one cup of milk with a cup of cream. I prefer the plain and straightforward milk version to keep this recipe no-fuss. I’ve made this dessert with 1%, 2%, and 3.5%. I recommend using higher fat milk for the best taste.
Cornstarch. If you don’t like using cornstarch, you can substitute with rice flour. You’ll need about 1/2 cup of rice flour for 4 cups of milk. I would strongly recommend not to use Arrowroot. Arrowroot becomes a thickener and works much like cornstarch, but if you cook it too long, it loses thickening abilities, and your pudding will become sweet milk.
Sugar. I use regular sugar. I haven’t tried any other kinds of substitutes for this recipe.
Orange Blossom Water & Rosewater. This ingredient is a famous addition to this dessert. You will find that these floral waters are widespread in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern desserts and give the dessert their signature flavour. I personally recommend using a light hand with the rosewater, or your dessert may end-up tasting like soap. You can omit the floral water and add vanilla, but then you’ll making vanilla pudding or pannacotta, not muhalabiyeh.
Garnish. The garnishes are endless for this dessert. You can use jams, nuts, coconut, cinnamon, and the list goes on. In the photos, I used two different garnishes. The first one is pistachios, rose petals and honey. The second is almonds, cinnamon and honey. Use whatever you have on hand.
How to make Muhalabiyeh?
Mix. Mix the milk and cornstarch when the milk is cold to avoid lumps. Add in your sugar.
Heat. Heat the mixture on medium heat. Each stovetop is different, so use the term medium heat as a loose term. You need to bring the milk to a simmer, not a boil. If the temperature is too high, you will either burn the milk or the cornstarch would have enough time to get to know the milk, which will result in a jello-like pudding.
Flavour. The floral water is somewhat optional but strongly recommended. Add in the rosewater and orange blossom water and give it a good stir.
Pour. Choose your serve dish of choice. You can pour into small cups or one big bowl. The ways to serve this dessert are as endless as there are toping to top it. Have fun with it.
What topping did you use on your muhalabiyeh? Leave a comment below and inspire us. We would love to know any tips or tricks you use to make the best muhalabiyeh.
Muhalabiyeh - Arab-style Milk Pudding
The pudding base:
- 4 cup milk
- 5 tbsp cornstarch or 1/2 cup rice flour
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp orange blossom water
- 1 tsp rose water
- Ground Pistachio
- Dried rose petals
- Ground Walnuts
- Mix. Whisk together the cornstarch and milk in a medium-pot until you have no lumps.
- Heat. Add the pot on to the stove. Cook the milk mixture on medium heat. It's important that you heat the milk slowly so the milk and cornstarch marry one another and form a creamy texture vs the jello texture that will happen with a high heat source.
- Stir. Occasionally stir until it comes to a light simmer (a few bubbles start to appear)
- Whisk. Once the bubbles appear, you'll notice they are becoming bigger and thick. Now, start whisking the fiercely. you'll notice the milk is now starting to become thicker and it coats the whisk.
- Remove. Once the milk becomes puddling like thickness, remove from the heat. Add your rose and orange-blossom water into the milk and whisk together. Pour the puddling into into the serving cups and chill 3 hours
- Garnish the milk puddling with nuts.