Tuesday, June 07, 2011

This Shavuot, forget Cheesecake - eat Muhallabeya

Enough talk of pogroms - let's lighten the mood with a recipe for Shavuot, which begins this evening. It's traditional to eat dairy foods on this festival of the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai: but instead of Cheesecake, Jews from the Middle East traditionally make Muhallabeya, an aromatic pudding. This is a simple recipe from the great Cairo-born Claudia Roden, author of the classic cookbook The Book of Jewish Food.


  • 60 g ground rice
  • 3 tbsp cornflour
  • pinches of salt
  • 1.2 litres full-fat milk
  • 85 g caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp orange flower water

To serve

  • clear honey
  • 15 g chopped pistachio nuts
  • 15 g toasted almonds


1. Mix the ground rice, cornflour and salt with a little of the milk to make a thin paste. Bring the rest of the milk to a boil in a heavy based saucepan.

2. Whisk the rice and cornflour paste into the hot milk. Simmer very gently, stirring constantly, for about 20 minutes until very thick, taking care not to let the mixture stick and burn on the base of the pan. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar and orange blossom water.

3. Pour the mixture into a large glass bowl, or 6 individual dessert bowls and chill well.

4. Just before serving, drizzle a little honey over the muhallabia. Decorate with nuts and serve.

NB If you want to serve a parev version, Linda Dangoor, in her book Flavours of Babylon, substitutes almond milk for full-fat milk.


Andrew said...

If you were in Egypt ,I would invite you to eat my mom's copyrighted "Muhalabeya"

Ashley M said...

Chag Sameach! That looks delicious, thanks for posting! And if anyone is interested, here is a recipe I posted for Bastani (Persian Ice Cream). It has a similar flavor to muhalabeya, with rose water, saffron, and pistachios. Perfect for the hot weather we've been getting recently!

Juniper in the Desert said...

Wow! what a feast! Thanks for both recipes. BTW, the Persian ice-cream recipe is like the Indian kulfi!

Anonymous said...

like how it's full fat no skim milk