Something old, something new, something sweet and not so blue.
Muhallabiya is basically milk pudding. My Grandmother always made this desert when she had left over milk in her fridge. She made different varieties of it, some with an apricot or orange jam topping, some with rice and my favourite; plain and flavoured with mastic and pistachio on top. My mom believes that for good luck one must always prepare and eat something white in the new year. I am following route and making this for my family and neighbour Eugenia.
The ingredient that gives this desert its distinctive flavour is the mastic spice. Anything that is white, fluffy and sweet, mastic finds its way through it. It’s in the traditional hand beaten turkish/arabic ice cream, turkish delights, salep and is used to flavour one of the oldest cheeses in the world; the white nabulsi cheese made in the old town of Nablus in Palestine.
To add more poeticism to this gem of spices, it is said that the Mastic tree produces a shriek like cry when the resin is squeezed out of its bark and therefore the mastic resins are also known to be ‘tears of Chion’;a greek island famous for mastic.
Crush the mastic with a pestel & mortar, tie inside a small muslin cloth and place inside a milk pan. In a side bowl place the corn starch adding the milk gradually and whisking until you get a smooth consistency. Heat the milk stirring all the time and adding the sugar to it once the sugar is dissolved, add the corn starch/milk mixture and bring the milk to a gentle boil and remove once it thickens. Sieve the milk mixture into a jug, keeping back all unwanted bits. Ladle into your serving glasses and let it cool down completely. Refrigerate for five hours and just before serving sprinkle with crushed pistachio. Bon appetite!
Ingredients (Makes 10 cups)
- 1300 ml Full Fat Milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 10 grams of crushed Mastica (tied in a small muslin cloth)
- 1 cup Corn Starch
- 1/2 cup (approx) additional milk for the starch
- handful of crushed pistachio