Friday, 13 June 2014

Muhalebi-Turkish milk pudding

This pudding reminds me of the Puerto Rican pudding I made recently based on coconut milk.  The method is very similar in that you heat up milk and cornflour till it is thick then add various flavourings.  I suppose it is actually just another version of good old English blancmange.  Apparently, the French were eating a similar pudding in the 1200's, then it moved across to England in the 1300's.  But I digress; I have been reading the marvellous book by Josceline Dimbleby called Orchards in the Oasis.  What an amazing life she has led!
She has lived and travelled all over the world, and this book covers some of the places and some of the recipes she has encountered along the way.  Her childhood included stints in Damascus, London and Peru; she was a young bride in New York and had trips to many fascinating places like Morocco, Turkey and India.
When I saw this recipe, I thought of the tembleque I had made, and decided I had to make this one seeing that it was such a similar idea in conception.  Mr Pickings and our friendly neighbour both enjoyed this pudding after dinner last night, as did I.  I think it would be great to try this with other milks so it could be dairy-free as well as gluten-free.  I read that many centuries ago, they would make this with almond milk, so the next time I make it, I will use this or soy milk.

Josceline's interesting and lovely book


25g cornflour- roughly 3 tbs
700mls milk
50g caster sugar--use vanilla sugar for extra flavour
2 tbs rosewater
50g almond meal


4 tbs water
120g caster sugar
2 tbs orange blossom water
1 tbs lemon juice
20g well chopped pistachios
organic dried rose buds broken up with your fingers


Make a smooth paste with the cornflour and a few tbs of the milk in a small cup
Place this into a medium saucepan with the rest of the milk and the sugar
Bring to the boil while whisking--it will only take a few minutes
Take it off the heat and add the rosewater and almond meal
Stir briskly and put back on the heat
Whisk some more while it is bubbling away for a few more minutes; it will start to look thicker and come together
Spoon the silky mixture into tea cups or small bowls- I got 5 servings out of it but I used big teacups
Let it cool right down while you are making the syrup

Put the water and sugar into a small saucepan
Bring to the boil while stirring with a whisk
Once the sugar is dissolved, let it simmer away for 3 minutes without stirring (if you do get a few sugar crystals around the edges, don't worry too much-either brush them down with a wet brush or just leave them!)
Remove from the heat and stir in the orange blossom water and lemon juice
Cool for a few minutes
Spoon it over each of the puddings
Scatter the nuts over and throw on rose buds
Chill for a few hours

stirring the muhalebi till thick and pouring into tea cups

syrup ingredients and ready for whisking

muhalebi cooled down and floating in a sea of beautiful syrup; decorated and ready for eating

There are many recipes scattered throughout this book, and I am keen to try more of them.  The author gives us an insight into her life, and provides an array of recipes from many cultures.  There are cakes and puddings, soups and curries, salads and stews- all sound enticing!  The book is full of lovely photos and family shots, and beautiful scenes from her travels.  The recipes are set out well, easily read and followed and if this one is an indication, very delicious to eat!
Each section has a story about her life- as a schoolgirl, young wife and mother, and into her middle years. The recipes are clearly wonderful reminders for her of her early years, and tasty snippets for the readers that allow us to follow her into her past.  Her story about her first student dinner party in her tiny flat for 9 people is hilarious.  The spaghetti was drained into the sink and went down the plughole, so she and her flatmate had to pull it out with their fingers before serving it with tinned tomato sauce.  Her next attempt-at shepherd's pie-sounds a whole heap nicer!  I am looking forward to making her crispy pigeon pie- perhaps with chicken?- and the apricot tart, and many more.


  1. Wow, you've been busy. This sounds really good and the book sounds good too. I'd love to read it.

    1. It is a great book Maureen. Lots of good recipes to try out.

  2. This sounds and looks delicious and exotic! I hope to come up soon and will demand some when I do! Gay ��

  3. Hello, Sherry! This sounds really interesting and not something I've ever seen before. I love blancmange, though, so if it's anything like that I think I'd love it. I haven't had blancmange for years! This has some beautiful flavours in it, especially that lovely rose water and pistachios.

    1. oh yes helen. it is very exotic and floral. i loved it but not everyone would i guess. but i love that flowery taste and aroma.

  4. What a palatable treat, Sherry! I would love to give it a try!

    1. Hi Agness
      I love these milk puddings. Give it a go!


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