Rose mouhalabiah with summer fruit compote

LEVEL: Advanced



750ml milk
175g granulated sugar
75ml double cream
100g cornflour, mixed with 125ml water
5g gum mastic
3 tbsp rose water
75g caster sugar
15g powdered pectin, or 60ml liquid pectin
50ml orange juice
2 tbsp rose water
150g strawberries, halved or quartered
150g blueberries
100g raspberries
100g yellow raspberries rose petals, to decorate
You will need 6 x 175ml mouhalabiah cups or dariole moulds


This is popular in the Lebanon and throughout the Middle East and is the equivalent of the Italian dessert panna cotta. There’s no gelatine in it, though, so vegetarians can eat it, too. I used to think of it as a babies’ pudding – it’s like nursery food because the texture is so smooth, silky and easy to eat. It’s often made with orange blossom water, but I wanted to serve this recipe with some of my favourite summer berries, scented with a few drops of rose water.

Pour the milk into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the sugar, cream, cornflour mixture and gum mastic. As soon as the mixture starts boiling, turn off the heat and stir in the rose water.

Divide evenly among the six mouhalabiah cups. Set aside to cool, then put them in the fridge to set.

Next, make the compote. Put the sugar, pectin, orange juice and rose water into a medium saucepan. Cook over a low heat until the sugar and pectin dissolve. Add the strawberries and cook for 1-2 minutes to soften, then add the blueberries, and again cook for about 1 minute.

Finally, add the raspberries, gently coat them in the syrup then turn off the heat. The fruit should not be too cooked. Leave to cool.

When you’re ready to serve, turn each mouhalabiya out on to a plate.

Spoon over the cooled compote and scatter with rose petals.