Muhallabieh (it's spelt muhallabiah, pronounced muhallabieh. My advice is don't fight it) is a true Levantine classic: a creamy set dessert, suffused with the unmistakeable perfume of rose water. It is also simple in the extreme, although peeling pistachio nuts isn't the most fascinating job in the kitchen.
Muhallebieh is traditionally made with rice flour. Cornflour performs the same function and is more likely to be in everyone's store cupboard. So, if you prefer, substitute the cornflour for rice flour. There, see? No harm done.Ingredients
- 100g milk powder (Nido, for instance, will do)
- 250g granulated sugar
- 750ml water
- 3 tbsp cornflower
- 250ml rose water
- 50g pistachio nuts, skinned and finely chopped
Mix the milk powder, sugar, cornflour and water together in a roomy bowl, and then pour into a pan. Set the pan over a medium heat and cook, stirring constantly to avoid the mixture sticking or going lumpy. More vigilance is required as it heats up: the second it has thickened and the first bubbles from the boiling have broken the surface, remove it from the heat.
Keep stirring the mixture, and add the rose water. Stir for a couple of minutes until it has cooled a little, and the rose water is thoroughly mixed in. Pour into four dessert bowls, and cover with cling film. Leave to stand until the mixture has cooled to near room temperature, and then chill in the fridge.
Sprinkle the chopped nuts over the muhallabiah and serve.