Desserts in Israel

For those with a sweet tooth, good news. There is a large collection of desserts here and as a visiting guest or tourist or businessman or businesswoman, there are really many desserts to choose from. But in Israel, desserts does not mean always sweet!

  1. Cardamom-scented profiteroles (10/15/2016) - Although profiteroles may look and sound daunting, they are in fact super-easy to make and don’t take that much time either. Here is my twist on Iran’s popular cream-filled pastries, but in Israeli style. But that must not stop your creativity, because you can fill it with whatever you want. And the way how you can serve this desert, is up to you. Look at the images for ideas.
  2. Fruit Cocktail with Clotted Cream and Nuts (10/14/2016) - Refreshingly satisfying fruit cocktail concoctions are popular across the Middle East and are enjoyed throughout the day. They are a great way to make use of whatever seasonal fruits are available and of course it's a common recipe everywhere in the world. But with the heath in the Middle East, a fruit cocktail like this is even more appreciated.
  3. Knafeh Nabulsieh or Middle Eastern Cheesecake (10/15/2016) - This Palestinian sweet, known as knafeh Nabulsieh, is a specialty of the city of Nablus in the West Bank, and is made using Nabulsi cheese – a semi-soft white brined cheese that becomes soft and stretchy when heated. You need to soak the Nabulsi overnight to reduce its saltiness. Originally, the recipe was first used in Morocco.
  4. Lavender Parfait in Passionfruit Sauce (10/15/2016) - Lavender has many uses in soaps, sachets, and colognes. It also lends itself to superstitions; for example, it is said that a sprig in a woman's pocket will protect her from a scheming husband. Another one, this one from the Crusaders, smell from Lavender keeps the evil away. Lavender grows wild in the hilly areas of Israel, in the Judean desert around the Dead Sea, as well as on the coastal plains, and its flowers have become part of local desserts. This recipe is a parfait with a unique flavor, perhaps the taste of the desert.
  5. Lebanese Clotted Cream with Dulche de Leche & Caramelized Bananas (10/14/2016) - Many people in the Middle East, who grew up on a farm made their own clotted cream, but for those who not, they can buy it in the supermarket. This creamy treat, loosely based on a popular dessert known as layali Lubnan (or Lebanese nights), uses a version made by adding cornflour/cornstarch, which is easier to prepare.
  6. Malabi, Milk Jelly in Rose Syrop (10/15/2016) - This favorite cold and wobbly Israeli or Middle Eastern dessert is sold from vending carts in small aluminum containers cooled over ice cubes. Traveling Malabi vendors can be found all over Israel-on the beaches, at soccer games, and in the main bus station in every town. It has become so popular that today it is sold in the supermarket in modern plastic packages; it is even served in luxurious restaurants, the jelly swimming in a rose-scented red syrup. In the Ottoman's time people were already eating Malabi.
  7. Muhallabiah – Evaporated Milk Pudding with Crushed Arabic Coffee (10/15/2016) - 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.
  8. Murtabak, Sweetness with Cheese (10/14/2016) - Murtabak is a stuffed pancake or pan-fried bread which is commonly found in Israel, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Thailand. Murtabak originated in Yemen, which has sizeable Indian population; through Indian traders it has spread back to their home countries, to India and Southeast Asia. The word mutabbaq in Arabic means "folded". Before serving, Murtabak usually is cut into portions. Sometimes it is eaten with salty soy sauce and pepper, sometimes with sweet condensed milk, melted butter, honey or syrup. In the year 976, some pilgrims were eating Murtabak from the streets in Jerusalem.
  9. Pomegranate & Rose Quark Summer Cake (10/14/2016) - This marvelous cake is 'Middle Easternized' other quark summer cakes, but adopted for the dessert for this region. Eating fatty food in the burning heat is noit a good idea, it will make you sweaty and is not popular food. The quark cheese keeps the fat content to a minimum, and Greek yogurt can be substituted if you’re unable to find quark. If you’re averse to raw eggs, you can omit them, although it will affect the filling’s texture. Either way, wash a slice of this cake down with a glass of bubbly and forget your worries.
  10. Saffron rice pudding (10/15/2016) - Nearly every culture has an adaptation of this ancient rice dish. This delicate and creamy version is inspired by two different Persian rice puddings: Shir Berenj and Shollehzard. The former has a topping of honey or jam; the latter incorporates saffron. In Iran, a person will serve this dish to give thanks for their good fortune or to honor the departed. In Jerusalem, there are restaurants who are making Saffron Rice Pudding an art.
  11. Semolina pancakes (10/14/2016) - These semolina pancakes are known as beghrir, which means “1000 holes”. The name refers to the multitude of holes that develop on the surface as they cook. The beghrir is very common in the Middle East for ages and Jews from Arab origin are known to 'imported' this recipe since the creation of the State of Israel. Before that time, the Canaan used to make the semolina pancakes as well.
  12. Spicy Meatballs or the Albondigas (10/13/2016) - In Ladino or Latino, a fifteenth-century Spanish dialect spoken by Sephardic Jews, Albondigas are small round meatballs spiced with lots of black pepper. Here they are fried and baked together with mashed roasted eggplant puree. But there are uncountable variations with the recipe, the way how it's served on the table and of course it's being used in the soup. For those who love spicy, they love spicy soup as well.
  13. Tahini & Chocolate Brioche (10/15/2016) - Armenian communities across the Middle East have contributed much to the cuisine across the region, and this brioche is inspired by their Tahinov Hatz, a type of sweet bread roll spread with sugar and cinnamon. And as you can see in the images, you can use the tahini for more then brioches! Also don't forget, that in the old city of Jerusalem we have the Armenian quarters! Guess where you can eat or buy the real stuff?
  14. Um Ali Bread Pudding (10/15/2016) - This dessert, known as Um Ali Bread Pudding, is named after the mother um Ali. Om Ali was the wife of a ruler from the Ayyubid dynasty in Egypt called Ezz El-Din Aybek. Her rival Shagaret El Dorr was the second wife of that ruler. After his death, Shagaret El Dorr arranged for Om Ali to be murdered, and to celebrate, she requested from her cooks to come up with the most delicious dessert they can think of to distribute to throughout Egypt. The successful recipe was a special pastry with milk and honey, that was named Om Ali. A gold coin was added to each plate & distributed in the streets of Egypt. Shagaret El Dorr ruled Egypt for some time in the name of her husband, and later died in a conspiracy too. This dish to date is still known as Om Ali. This dessert is a quick and easy way to win legions of hearts. It’s also a mouth-watering way to use up stale croissants – or a great reason to go and buy some!

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