Muhallabiah – Evaporated Milk Pudding with Crushed Arabic Coffee

Based on the classic Middle Eastern milk flan known as Muhallabiah, this dessert also draws inspiration from Arabic coffee. The milk mixture is infused with cardamom, a spice with which Arabic coffee is commonly brewed. The creamy sweetness is contrasted splendidly with the bitter coffee beans. It’s an incredibly simple and rapid way to satiate a sweet craving with very minimal mess. Adjust the rosewater to taste. Note that evaporated milk is also sometimes known as unsweetened condensed milk. Be careful not to use sweetened condensed milk by mistake.


To make this recipe, it’s fast (15 minutes cooking and about 10 minutes preparing) and it serves 4 persons.

  • 200ml/7fl oz/scant 1 cup whole milk
  • 200ml/7fl oz/scant 1 cup evaporated milk or unsweetened condensed milk
  • 40g/1½oz/scant ¼ cup caster/superfine sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch
  • a large pinch of ground cardamom
  • a few drops of rosewater
  • 1 tbsp Arabic coffee or espresso beans or dark chocolate, finely chopped, to decorate
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped shelled unsalted pistachios, to decorate

  1. Put the milk, evaporated milk, sugar, cornflour/cornstarch and cardamom into a heavy-based pan and whisk well to combine.
  2. When the mixture is smooth, put the  pan over a medium-low heat and bring it to the boil, whisking continuously until thickened, and making sure it does not boil over.
  3. Once the mixture coats the back of a spoon without running off, remove the pan from the heat.
  4. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve secured over a pouring jug. Add the rosewater and leave to cool slightly for 10–15 minutes.
  5. Pour the mixture into glasses or dessert bowls, cover tightly with cling film/plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for about 2–3 hours until cold and set.
  6. When the puddings are cold and set, remove from the refrigerator and sprinkle with Arabic coffee beans and pistachios and serve.

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