The beauty of some Lebanese home-style desserts is that they are lighter than the average dessert with eggs or butter; take this chocolate muhallabieh for instance; cream is added sparingly to the milk and the dessert is thickened with cornstarch. It is super creamy and chocolaty, but very light.
The pink meringue hearts are for fun and crunch-crunch.
OK. So how do we proceed?
- 1 1/2 cup of whole milk
- 1/2 cup of cream
- 1/3 cup of cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup of cocoa, Dutch processed (I like Droste)
- 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
- Place the milk and the cream in measuring jug to get a total of two cups. Pour 1 1/2 cups of that mixture into a saucepan and add the cocoa and sugar. Pour the cornstarch on the remaining mixture in the jug and mix with a fork to dissolve the cornstarch.
- Start heating the milk and cocoa mixture while stirring it slowly to dissolve the cocoa and sugar. When the mixture starts steaming, add the cornstarch mixture and keep stirring for several minutes (about 4 minutes total) until the mixture is very thick.
- Pour into a sieve placed over a large bowl with a spout. Use a spoon or the whisk to press the pudding mixture through the sieve; this step is to ensure no lumps remain and the pudding is as creamy and smooth as can be. Pour into 2 or 4 ramequins or verrine or goblets. Cover with a plastic sheet and keep in the fridge until serving time. You can serve as is in the ramequins or flip over into a pretty plate. To help dislodge the pudding, surround the ramequin with a hot and wet towel. Serve with meringues or a crumble of caramelized nuts or marshmallows.
Assembly with the cream and meringue:
Pink cream: Whip 1/2 cup of cream with two teaspoons of powdered sugar and a few drops of rose water; add a couple of drops of red food color to the cream. Whip for several minutes until soft peaks form.
Meringue: Place 4 egg whites in a mixing bowl; beat at high speed for a few minutes till frothy; add a pinch of cream of tartar. As soon as the meringue is stiff, start adding one cup of powdered sugar, one tablespoon at a time as well as a few drops of red food color. Beat till stiff and still shiny. Place in a plastic decorating bag with a round tip (small size) and pipe on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in a 225F oven for one hour or longer until the meringue is stiff and dry.
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