This is a super easy and super yummy pudding with Arabic flavors. The amardeen is one of my favorite snacks and it takes me back to childhood when we would suck on it after school (this was before the world was inundated with chips and candy bars). It is also a happy reminder that Syria is still here as the apricots are sourced in the Ghouta region near Damascus.
Get yourself a standard 400g package of amardeen (either order it online or at a Middle-Eastern grocer or even in the international section of the supermarket. Rip the package and tear it into large pieces. Soak them in water (to cover) overnight. The next day, heat it up a bit and add some extra sweetness if desired (I added a tablespoon of honey). Get the mixture as soft as possible then transfer it to a blender and purée it. The idea is to get it as thick as possible, so if you used too much water, it is a good idea to simmer it for a while to reduce it by one half or at least one third. The reason for this is to intensify the flavor of the apricot. Set it aside to let it cool for a while. Taste it to adjust the level of sweetness to your liking. You can also (I have done it before) add some fresh orange juice to the apricot mixture to add some tanginess and citrusy/sweet flavor.
The milk pudding is a straightforward muhallabiyeh and I always like to flavor it with mastic gum (love that flavor); be sure it is the real deal, imported from Greece from the isle of Chios. If not available, then any kind of flavoring would work, from the traditional rosewater or orange blossom water to just vanilla or almond extract.
Amardeen and milk puddingJoumana Accad Mediterranean, Middle Eastern May 23, 2022 Dessert, Pastry, pudding, milk pudding, mastic, muhallabieh, apricot jelly, amardeen, wafer,
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 20 minutes
1 package of amardeen 500g
Water, as needed
1 quart of whole milk (any type of milk)
Sugar, about one tablespoon per cup (more or less, to taste)
Cornstarch (measure 1 1/2 Tbsp per cup of liquid), so 6 Tbsps of cornstarch for the milk and a similar quantity (depending on the amount of amardeen juice) for the amardeen.
To flavor the pudding:
a few crystals of mastic ground-up with a teaspoon of sugar in a mortar till mastic becomes powdery.
1 or 2 teaspoons of orange flower water or rose water or a combo of both.
- To thicken the milk pudding portion of this dessert, pour the milk into a saucepan over medium-low heat, add sugar to taste, stir to mix. When the milk starts to steam, add the cornstarch previously stirred in a small glass of water. Stir continuously until the pudding thickens, add the flavorings (mastic, orange blossom water rose water), and remove from the heat. At this point, it is advisable to transfer the pudding to another bowl through a sieve to make sure it is creamy and smooth.
- To thicken the amardeen pudding, same technique. Heat the pudding, add extra sugar or honey if desired, and when it steams add the cornstarch previously diluted in a little water. Stir continuously until thickened. Add flavoring (rose water or orange blossom water, but no mastic here) if desired (I did not add any). Run it through a sieve.
- Assembly: Start with one or the other and layer the pudding into a clear glass or bowl or wine glass. I started with one layer, let it thicken in the fridge and then added the other layer. This takes longer obviously, and would require heating-up the pudding a bit to make it pourable (can use the microwave here). You can also layer the two flavors gently one on top of the other.
- Serve cold with a pistachio wafer.
To make the pistachio wafers:
70g butter, unsalted (3/4 stick)
4 Tbsp brown sugar (can use white if desired)
3 Tbsp honey
4 Tbsp AP flour
1 cup pistachios, unsalted (peeled if desired and chopped)
Preheat the oven to 375F
Place the butter, sugar and honey in a saucepan over low heat. Melt and mix gently. Remove from the heat and add the flour and salt.
Add the chopped pistachios and mix well.
Pour the mixture into a cookie sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Spread as thin as possible.
Bake for a few minutes (watch it like a hawk), until the mixture is bubbly. Remove from the heat and let it cool, placing it in the fridge or freezer if you can.
That's it. Serve by cutting into single serving pieces.
Keep the extras in the freezer or fridge.
Boil them briefly (a few seconds should suffice) and transfer them to a cutting board to peel them right away.
Roast them briefly after peeling them to make sure they are perfectly dry. They can be roasted in the oven (preheated at 250F), or in a skillet over low heat.
Chop the pistachios in order to be able to incorporate them to the thin wafer.
Spread the pistachio wafer dough across the cookie sheet as thin as possible.
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