Lebanese milk and bread pudding called aish el saraya is a sweet delight. We loved it to end our Lebanese feast with a cup of Arabic coffee. The dessert is made with either a biscuit or bread. It is soaked with syrup made with sugar and flavored with orange blossom and rose water. It is then topped with a milk custard that is also flavored with orange blossom and rose water, along with mastic. A pebble like ingredient that when ground is used in many baked dishes. It adds a lovely woodsy almost pine like flavor to the custard that is delicious. The dish is topped with pistachio nuts and served with the same syrup the bread was soaked with. It is easy to make and super delicious. It keeps several days in the refrigerator if you have any left, which I doubt. Yum!
Lebanese Milk and Bread Pudding (Ashtaliyeh)
- 8 pieces of sandwich bread white or a package of lady fingers to line the pan
- For the syrup
- 1 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon rose water and
- 1 tablespoon orange blossom water.
- For the custard
- 4 cups whole milk
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 8 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in one cup of the milk (from the 4 cups listed above)
- 3 pebbles of mastic ground up in a mortar with a teaspoon of sugar till powdery (optional)
- 1 tablespoon rose water
- 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
- for the garnish
- 1 cup ground pistachios to garnish the top
Line a 9" pan with wax paper if using a springform pan; if using a glass serving dish, there is no need to line it. Cover the bottom with all the pieces of bread or lady fingers.
Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir gently from time to time, add the lemon juice; simmer for 10 minutes or so, then add the rose and orange blossom water and turn off the heat. Cool; moisten the bread with a few tablespoons of syrup. Pour the remaining syrup in a small container to serve alongside the dessert.
In a saucepan, pour 3 cups of milk and the sugar over medium heat; when steam appears, add the remaining milk and cornstarch mixture and stir continuously till thick.
Add the mastic powder and the rose and orange blossom, stirring to combine, in the last few seconds of cooking.
Set aside to cool one minute, then gently pour over the bread in the pan.
Cool the custard then refrigerate
Garnish with ground pistachios.
Serve cold with additional syrup on the side.
Enjoy with a cup of Arabic coffee