I read one time the results of a study on what taste men in general were drawn to: it was “creamy” things, like vanilla ice cream or whipping cream. The study concluded by stating that it was certainly derived for the primal longing for mother’s milk that accompanies men throughout their lives!!
No pudding equals muhallabyeh in creaminess and purity. I am talking milk, sugar, cornstarch (or rice flour), and flavorings. That’s it! A must in your fridge. My grandmother made it for us weekly from powdered milk as cows were scant in Lebanon. Muhallabyeh is a convenient, healthy, creamy, refreshing, dessert or snack or even quick breakfast.
INGREDIENTS: This quantity will yield 4 servings
- 2 cups of milk (can be lowfat)
- 1/2 cup of whipping cream or half-and-half
- 1/4 cup of cornstarch + 1 Tbsp. (or rice flour- but it will take longer to thicken)
- 2 tablespoons of sugar (or more, to taste)
- 1 teaspoon of orange blossom water and rose water
- 3 pebbles of mastic, crushed with one teaspoon of sugar in a mortar (optional)
- Measure the cornstarch and mix into 1/2 cup of the milk until smooth.
- Pour the milk (less the conrstarch mixture) and cream into a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the sugar, place on medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon.
- When the milk starts showing some steam, add the cornstarch mixture and stir continuously until the milk thickens.
- Add the flavoring and stir a few seconds longer.
- Pour into a bowl (through a strainer).
- Immediately, divide the mixture into 4 small cups. Cool at room temperature then refrigerate.
If you are going to use the mastic, heat it with the milk towards the end of cooking; beware that it could leave bits on the pan that will require some scrubbing to remove! so, it is important to grind it well with a teaspoon of sugar first, in a small porcelain mortar for example.