Butternut and cream pudding (Halwa al-yakteen)


After Oum Ali, this is another great  dessert from Egypt and Eastern Libya.  A  version of this dessert is explained with step-by-step photos  in an excellent  site for anybody interested in Libyan food and traditions. Another version I found in Lebanese chef Marlene Mattar‘s cookbook, Maedat Marlene.

This is a simple dessert: Cook the pumpkin and sweeten it. Make a white sauce and sweeten it; layer the two, bake in the oven and serve warm or at room temperature.

I made this dessert with pumpkin and with butternut and I prefer it with the butternut. My version cuts down on the sugar.

INGREDIENTS: 6 servings

  • 1 pound (500 g) of butternut (already peeled and cut into chunks)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/3 cup of brown sugar
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp of golden raisins
  • Béchamel sauce: 1.4 oz (40 g.) of AP flour
  • 3 tbsp of unsalted butter
  • 2 cups of whole milk (or 1 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of cream)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp of orange blossom water (can substitute vanilla extract)


  1. Peel and cut the butternut into chunks, removing all fibrous material and seeds. Place the butternut chunks with the water, brown sugar, raisins and spice into a saucepan and bring to a boil; simmer gently for about 30 minutes or until the water has evaporated, mashing the butternut mixture with a meat mallet to purée it.
  2. Make the béchamel: Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and stir to cook the flour a bit; gradually add the milk stirring nonstop. Add the eggs and sugar and whisk until the mixture is thickened and smooth. Add the flavoring.
  3. Cool the milk mixture a bit then layer the milk mixture in a ramequin with the butternut mixture in the middle. Bake in a 375F oven for about 10 minutes until bubbly and a bit puffed up. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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  1. Posted November 18, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    This is such a fantastic dessert for the Season…gorgeous!

  2. s
    Posted November 18, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    bechamel in a dessert- how delicious.i love the bounty of butternut squash these days. x shayma

  3. Posted November 18, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    this is simply delicious and perfect for the season, like the idea of using bechamel sauce in dessert.

  4. Posted November 18, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    The layering effect is beautiful. I’m finding more and more that butternut squash is a great substitute for pumpkin.

  5. Posted November 18, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    A great pudding! The flavors are just exquisite.



  6. Posted November 18, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    What a great way to enjoy pumpkin!!

  7. Posted November 18, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Look at that!!!! Superbly presented, mouthwatering flavors. I adore how you take seasonal ingredients and give it your very own traditional spin. Just wonderful – if I was just too darn tired with all the grosery shopping already done for next week (for my 12 dishes :) I’d add this to the menu! Next holiday :)

    Pudding and butternut squash..sigh..

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  8. Posted November 18, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    Love the layers – bechamel and squash – a pudding made in heaven. I know so little of these foods and it’s always treat to come here and discover.

  9. Posted November 18, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    i love the use of butternut, the layers add such a festive touch!!

  10. Posted November 18, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    A delightful treat, love the addition of orange blossom water!

  11. Posted November 19, 2011 at 3:34 am | Permalink

    I love butternut and have some in the house. I have never tried it as a pudding this looks delicious. Diane

  12. Posted November 19, 2011 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Tout simplement gourmand….

  13. Posted November 19, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Un superbe blog que je découvre avec grand plaisir!!! Tes recettes sont parfaites et tes photos sublimes!!! D’ailleurs, je te mets de ce pas dans mes liens et je vais te voir sur Facebook!!! Bonne soirée et à bientôt.

  14. Posted November 20, 2011 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    I am loving these sweet treats! Wish I could be at your house over the holidays! The food, as always, looks fabulous.
    Have a great holiday season,

  15. Posted November 20, 2011 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    hello , never realised that you can make a sweet version of white sauce :)
    very interesting sweet dish

  16. Posted November 20, 2011 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    This sounds delicious! I am huge fan of your recipes!!!!!!!Love this one :)

  17. Posted November 21, 2011 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    This looks so cute the way you make it, love the pumkin tops! I wasn’t much of a fan of the raisin and nut version, but cooking the raisins with the pumkin and especially sprinkinling the uts on top is different and something I will definately be doing. I

    I wonder how butternut differes from pumkin? I don’t see butternut often here but will try it next time I see it.

  18. Posted November 21, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    I love your style of cooking.

  19. Posted November 21, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    This dessert looks very festive, and I can easily imagine a savoury version of it, which is really unusual. I prefer butternut squash to pumpkin too on almost all dishes, it is so sweet and plump.

  20. Posted December 2, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    This looks amazing. I’ll be trying it soon and blogging about it on midEATS. Thanks for the inspiration :)

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