Desserts can be divided in two categories in the Lebanese repertoire. The ones that everybody buys at the famous pastry-makers who have been doing it for one hundred years or more and the ones that people make at home, usually enlisting the services of a grandmother or kind relative. This balouza belongs to the second category. It is the basic muhallabiyeh with an orange pudding on top, thickened with cornstarch as well. Simple to prepare; comforting and refreshing. A Lebanese panna cotta except lighter, delicate and gossamer. Unlike the panna cotta which is thickened with gelatin, this muhallabiyeh gets its texture from cornstarch. Please don’t substitute gelatin, unless you are allergic in which case rice flour can be used instead.
I added candied orange slices to this dessert on a whim after seeing them on Chantal’s blog assiettesduchef.canalblog.com .She calls them cristallines d’orange.
INGREDIENTS: This quantity will yield 4 servings, recipe is adapted
I consulted a book by Lina Shbaro Baydoun الحلويات ا لعربيه والغربيه
For the milk muhallabiyeh:
- 1 cup of skim or lowfat milk
- 1 cup of whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons of cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup of water
- 3 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of orange blossom water
- 1 teaspoon of rose water
For the orange muhallabiyeh:
- 4 large oranges (or more to total 1 1/4 cups) Do not substitute packaged orange juice
- 4 tablespoons of sugar (or more, to taste)
- 2 tablespoons of cornstarch diluted in 1/4 cup of water
- 1 teaspoon orange blossom water
- 1 teaspoon rose water
Making the muhallabiyeh:
- Pour the milk and cream into a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
- Heat the mixture to boiling. As soon as you see steam coming out, add the sugar and keep stirring.
- Add the cornstarch and water mixture and keep stirring for one minute or so. When the mixture thickens, add the orange blossom water and the rose water.
- Pour the mixture through a strainer into a measuring cup with a spout.
- Pour the muhallabiyeh into individual serving dishes and let it cool at room temperature.
- Store in the fridge.
Making the orange muhallabiyeh:
- Juice the oranges and strain the liquid to get 1 1/4 cups of strained orange juice.
- Place in a heavy-bottomed saucepan on medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
- When the juice starts steaming, add the sugar, stir well and then add the cornstarch mixture.
- Continue stirring while it bubbles up and add the flavorings. When the mixture thickens, pour through a strainer into a measuring cup with a spout.
- Using a large tablespoon, place a few tablespoons of the orange pudding onto the surface of the milk pudding, dividing it equally between all 4 cups.
- Cool at room temperature and then in the fridge. Serve when cold, a few hours later or the next day.
TO MAKE THE CANDIED ORANGE SLICES:
- 2 oranges (organic), sliced very thin (the thinner the better)
- 1/2 cup of water
- 3/4 cup of sugar
- In a saucepan, place the water and sugar.
- Boil the mixture and let it cool for 15 minutes
- Pour the syrup over the oranges and let it soak up the oranges for 30 minutes or so.
- Drain the oranges and place on a cookie sheet.
- Bake in a 175F (90C) for about 3 hours until the orange slices are crispy and dried up. Do not let them brown!
- Keep in a tightly sealed metal container for about a week.
NOTE: This dessert is also done with rice pudding.
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