Ashtalieh with pistachios

February 16, 2011  •  Category:


Do you like to end your main meal with a touch of sweetness?

I don’t really want a thick slice of cheesecake; just a little something sweet, not too sweet, just right.

Ashtalieh is a cream pudding; it comes from ashta, which is the Arabic word for cream; here, I simply added a handful of pistachios and instead of serving it in a bowl as is the custom, I used a cookie dough scoop to make little balls of ashtalieh, to savor individually, for a touch of creamy sweetness at the end of a good dinner.

Not a smidgeon more.


  • 1/2 cup of whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 cups of whole milk
  • 3 Tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of rose water or orange blossom water or a bit of each
  • 1/3 cup of cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup of ground pistachios
  • 1/2 cup of whole pistachios, chopped coarsely


  1. Place the cream and milk in a measuring jug; pour 1 1/2 cups of this mixture into a saucepan. Add the sugar and stir over low to medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add to the remaining mixture the cornstarch and mix well to dissolve. As soon as the milk and cream in the saucepan starts to steam, pour the cornstarch mixture over it, stirring with a rubber whisk constantly. It will thicken in a matter of minutes. Add the flavoring of your choice and stir. Add the pistachios and set aside or pour into small bowls.
  3. If using the ball idea, grind some pistachios in a coffee grinder. Dip the cookie dough scooper into water, then the ground pistachios first and then into the ashtalieh, and form little balls. Sprinkle with additional ground pistachios or leave as is. Keep in the fridge until serving time. Serve cold.

NOTE: If you are so inclined, you can stir into the ashtalieh in the last few minutes of cooking a dash of mastic pebbles ground with a dash of sugar.


35 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Sarah Galvin (All Our Fingers in the Pie) says:

    This looks so nice. How do you do it… a new recipe every day.

  2. theUngourmet says:

    I’ve never tasted anything like this before. It looks so delicious. I love pistachios!!

  3. Ivy says:

    Another amazing cream I would like to taste.

  4. Rosa says:

    Mmmhhh, heavenly!



  5. Sweet Artichoke says:

    I definitely like to end a meal (ahem…, all my meals) with a touch of sweetness!
    These ashtalieh are perfect! I like your idea of using a cookie scoop to shape these little ones!

  6. john@heneedsfood says:

    Oh my, that looks stunning! For a second there I thought it was some kind of scallop dish. Such gorgeous presentation

  7. Cherine says:

    One of my favorite dessert. Wish I can have some right now 🙂

  8. Priya says:

    So nutty and delicious dessert..

  9. Sushma says:

    I haven’t tried this but looks v nice with crunchy Pistachios:)

  10. Amy @ cookbookmaniac says:

    I agree. I prefer smaller morsels of sweets after dinner. I’ve never heard of this dessert, but it looks light as feather and I adore anything rose+pistachio.

  11. Caffettiera says:

    I have this habit as well, I always crave something sweet to end up a meal. They make a very similar dessert at the Afghan restaurant here, and they flavour it with rosewater and a bit of cardamom. So sweet and light..

  12. Nadji says:

    Une ashtalieh au dessert et nous nous retrouverons aux côtés de Shéhérazad racontant ses histoires
    A très bientôt.

  13. 5 Star Foodie says:

    Great to learn about this delightful treat, perfect that it is not too sweet and just wonderful with pistachios!

  14. Chiara says:

    This looks so tasty Joumana ! I’ve never eaten anything like this…My mouth is watering….

  15. vegetarianirvana says:

    How interesting, I am thinking labneh would also be a good base for this dessert no? Yes my question would also be how do you come up with a recipe everyday?

    • Joumana says:

      @vegetarianirvana: It just flows and when I am out of inspiration, I wait for it to come back! Yes, sure, labneh would be a great base for this.

  16. Cristina says:

    Delicious! I do something similar but without rose water & pistachio – only vanilla. I must try your version too.

  17. Eve@CheapEthnicEatz says:

    Another wonderful guilt free dessert. I love pistachios as well. I have to strat making such desserts.

  18. FOODESSA says:

    I’ve been having pistachio desserts on the brain lately…I feel something coming soon.

    I’ve never had this light pudding dessert.
    Just maybe, I’ll let go a piece of my cheesecake to dig into your creamy Ashtalieh ;o)

    Ciao for now,

  19. Maria @ Scandifoodie says:

    What a fantastic recipe, pistachios are just so delicious and gorgeous coloured!

  20. SYLVIA says:

    This mouth watering recipe is both elegant and delicious, pistachios only heightens that perfect creamy flavor .Take one bite and enjoy the party in your mouth.
    Joumana, If ashtalieh had a public relation agent, she should have been mighty happy with the results.

  21. Angie's Recipes says:

    Never had anything like this before….but I know with pistachios, everything tastes better!

  22. Oui, Chef says:

    What a gorgeous, delicious and simple little treat. Beautiful photos too! – S

  23. Adelina says:

    If you publish a cookbook, I am going to get it. My mom makes this dessert and I love it. She uses bread croutons as a bottom crust. She calls it “ashasariah”… not sure if I am pronouncing it right.

  24. Krista says:

    What a perfectly lovely idea, Joumana. I’d forgotten how much I love pudding and you’re right, all it takes is a spoonful and I’m a happy camper. This is beautiful. 🙂

  25. Faith says:

    This sounds like the perfect treat to end a meal with. It’s so elegant too…I love it!

  26. Susan says:

    Anything with pistachios gets my immediate attention. How wonderful this sounds!

  27. Lentil Breakdown says:

    I would still binge on more than one of these, but it sure sounds lovely with the pistachios and cream. I might want to add vanilla or almond extract or a liqueur or cardamom.

  28. Peter says:

    Every dessert for every occasion. A light main may be followed by a richer dessert and a rich main should be followed by something lighter…like this ashta with pistachios…love the presentation!

  29. Magic of Spice says:

    Oh my this is just fantastic…I love pistachios and this looks so creamy, perfect for an after dinner treat 🙂

  30. Diane says:

    Mmmmmm that looks like it will really hit the spot. Diane

  31. domi says:

    Bonjour Joumana, quelle superbe petite perle gourmande dĂ©licieusement enrobĂ©e dans sa coque verte comme une Ă©meraude qui vient complĂ©ter la ” collection ” des joyaux de ta pâtisserie. Il Ă©mane de cette photo une impression de lĂ©gèretĂ© presque comme un nuage, superbe rĂ©alisation !!! Bisous et belle journĂ©e

  32. a bare truth says:

    God, u’re killing me….

  33. Sylvie says:

    This is my favorite dessert!! Has anyone had success making it with almond milk?

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