7 must try desserts from the Middle East | Recipes | Chef Sanjeev Kapoor

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7 must try desserts from the Middle East

Soft spongy cakes, crisp sweet pastries, fragrant creamy custards and much more – the world of Middle Eastern desserts is one that will always manage to bring out the dessert freak in you. Take a look at our 7 favourite recipes from the Mediterranean that you ought to try in your home kitchen to really gratify your sweet tooth.

Umm Ali

This decadent puff pastry pudding literally translates to mother of Ali and is probably one of the most famous Egyptian desserts. Puff pastry, condensed milk, cream, a generous mix of crunchy nuts and scented pinch of cinnamon are all baked together to give you instant gratification in the form of a rich pudding. You can also prepare this classic with stale bread or croissants instead of puff pastry.

Baklava

Layers of crispy puff pastry and crunchy nuts soaked in delicious sticky sweet sugar syrup, baked and cut into squares – baklavas are what have put Middle Eastern desserts on the global map. All the effort that goes into making a baklava is well worth it and you will know only once you have had your first bite…. or maybe till you get to the last one of the batch you prepare.

Muhallebi

This Turkish recipe is made with just three basic ingredients – rice flour, milk and sugar. Served in shot glasses, sprinkled with cinnamon, pomegranate pearls, pistachios and a mint leaf each – the contrasts in this recipe are a treat to the eyes first and then to the taste buds. Simple yet effective – this one is a Turkish version of simple rice flour pudding.

Aish El Saraya

Toasted bread slices or rusk sweetened with orange blossom scented syrup and topped with rich creamy custard and baked to perfection. Just like all other Middle Eastern desserts it is sprinkled with a generous dose of pistachios. By the way, Aish El Sarayia translates into English as ‘bread of the palace’; the only way to know why is to try out a batch yourself.

Kunefe

 Like several other Middle Eastern desserts this one to was created during the time of the Ottoman Empire. Kunafe, knafe, kanafah, kunafeh whatever you wish to call it, it still remains one of the most decadent dairy based desserts from the Mediterranean. Soft cheese and crisp sweet pastry make a brilliant combination of flavours and textures – it is no wonder they are such a hit.

Chebakia

These are delicious flower shaped sesame cookies from Morocco. While getting the exact shape right is something that comes with practice, you can easily shape them into more convenient twisted sticks and enjoy just as much. Sprinkled with a mix of white and black sesame seeds, you can cool and store these cookies for as long as two weeks in an air tight jar.

Sahlab

Smooth and silky – this melt in the mouth dessert can be made with ingredients that we always have in our kitchens. Milk, cornstarch and sugar boiled together into a lump free thick custard flavoured with rose water. You can serve this dessert chilled or hot depending on your mood but never without its desiccated coconut, mixed nuts and honey topping.

 Looking to prepare a full on Mediterranean style meal? Check out an array of traditional and twisted recipes on sanjeevkapoor.com and get started.

Recommended Recipes :

 ShakshoukaLavash,  Baba Ganoush,  Moroccan Chicken,  Middle Eastern Chickpea Platter,  MansafBamiya,  Mixed Salad with Sumac,  Stuffed Zucchini,  Fattoush,  Moroccan carrot soup,  Kumpir,  Tulumba,  Walnut Baklava  

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.