I think I am in love with rose water and I did not know it. There you go, I confessed. And on top of that, I want to celebrate this love. The best way to celebrate it is by making Layali Loubnan, a homemade pudding-like milk-based dessert that will leave you asking for more and more (if not licking your plate clean)! When I eat this dessert, I feel I am in the mountains of Lebanon, sitting on a porch of an old house with the sun beaming down on my face making me feel warm and at home. Priceless feeling.
Traditionally, the pudding is poured into a rectangular baking dish (glass Pyrex for example) and then one-portion servings are cut out for each person. But what I did was pour it in individual ramekins; I wanted to give to friends so I thought it would be nicer to present a ramekin instead of a portion in a plate. Whatever. Let’s get down to business now.
To make 6 wide ramekins, you need:
For the pudding:
– 4 cups milk
– 1 cup semolina (smeed in Arabic)
– 1 cup caster sugar
– 1/4 cup rose water
– 1 Tbsp orange blossom
– 1/4 tsp mastic gum, ground finely
For the whipped cream: I used Dream Whip. Any sweet whipped cream will do I guess.
For the garnish: ground pistachios. (Necessary, not optional!)
Pour the milk in a deep pot, add the sugar and semolina and put over medium heat. You have to keep stirring until boiling point and until the mixture thickens (around 3 minutes after boiling). The mixture should be as thick as baby food. Turn off heat. Add the rose water, orange blossom and mastic gum. Stir well. The semolina grain will double in size and you’ll be able to see that. Pour the pudding into your baking dish, or the ramekins if using, and let it cool. The pudding should form a layer not thicker than 3 centimeters. After it cools down, chill in the fridge for 2 hours. To serve, spread the whipped cream on top and then sprinkle the pistachio grounds. Be generous with the pistachios, they go like a wink and a smile with the rose water and mastic gum flavors of the pudding.
There you go. A dessert that you can prepare in 15 minutes and keep eating for 3 days! Sahten!