Wednesday 18 April 2007

muhallabiah mousse w pomegranate & orange blossom syrup

Hay! Hay! It’s Donna Day! has rolled around again and though I’ve only ever participated once before, I finally feel like my latest invention is worth contributing.

This month’s theme, hosted by Helene from Tartelette, is mousse.

On the weekend I was inspired by my wonderful new cookbook by Julie Le Clerc, Taking Tea in the Medina, and so invented my own little mousse: Muhallabiah Mousse w Pomegranate & Orange Blossom Syrup.

The mousse is flavoured with almonds and sweetened with white chocolate, then the finish product is topped with a refreshing salsa of pomegranate seeds, pistachios and pinenuts soaked in orange blossom syrup. The flavours are rich, heady and incredibly sensual, as any Middle Eastern dessert should be.

Muhallabiah Mousse (white chocolate and almond)
Anna’s very own recipe. Serve 6 in small portions.

240g white chocolate
1½ cups milk
1 cup cream
½ cup sugar
1 cup ground almonds (almond meal)
1 tablespoon orgeat (almond syrup)
½ tablespoon gelatine
1. Bring milk, sugar, orgeat and almond meal to the boil. Remove from heat and allow to infuse for 20-30 minutes.
2. In a heatproof bowl, sprinkle gelatine over 3 tablespoons of cold water and allow to go spongy (about 5-10 minutes).
3. Melt chocolate.
4. Strain milk mixture over a fine sieve to remove almond meal.
5. Pour boiling water from an electric kettle into a saucepan, then place gelatine mixture over steam, stirring until gelatine has dissolved.
6. Stir gelatine, chocolate and milk mixtures together.
7. Whip cream until firm peaks form.
8. Fold milk and chocolate mixture into whipped cream.
9. Spoon into serving glasses and refrigerate overnight.
10. Serve with generous spoonfuls of Pomegranate & Orange Blossom Syrup.

Pomegranate & Orange Blossom Syrup
Amended from Taking Tea in the Medina by Julie Le Clerc. Serves 6.
¼ cup slivered almonds
¼ cup slivered pistachio nuts
¼ cup pinenuts
1 pomegranate
2/3 cup sugar syrup
1-2 teaspoon orange blossom water
1. Place all nuts in a bowl and cover with cold water. Soak for 1 hour then drain well.
2. Halve pomegranate and remove seeds, being careful to discard the white pith.
3. Combine sugar syrup with orange blossom water, then mix with nuts and pomegranate seeds.
4. Chill well until serving.

Muhallabiah is a milk pudding served all over the Middle East, but most of the recipes flavoured with almond seem to be Iranian or Lebanese. Since I served this dessert after a main course of fesenjân, a Persian stew based on pomegranates, I have to lean towards the Iranian influence.

This month’s Donna Hay themed event should be very interesting and I look forward to reading the recap of all the other scrumptious mousses.



  1. that looks absolutely amazing. I wish i had better cooking skills so that i could post about things that i've made. Things were going well last week till i set the oven on fire.

  2. oh pickles, what happened??? it sounds hilariously tragic.

  3. are the seeds chewable? :)

  4. hi sarina nicole. yes, the seeds are very juicy on the outside and then the inside is like a softer version of a watermelon seed. and after they soak in the syrup they get even softer.

  5. Beautiful presentation with the orange blossom syrup - so bright!

  6. This sounds wonderful and very Moroccon. Thanks for joining hHDD>

  7. Hey Anna, I agree with you perfectly! Cheers to our great minds :)
    That is one stunning photo by the way!

  8. Anna, this mousse is awesome, and I love pomegranates AND orange blossom. I use orange blossom a lot in my sweet recipes !

  9. I had Muhallabiah when I was in Egypt...your turning into this beautiful dessert is genius! Enchanting! :)

  10. This sounds sensual, indeed!!!

  11. I love the look of pomegranate too and the delicate taste but am always plagued by loosening all the seeds. Do you have any suggestions for removing the seeds from their pesky (if pretty) husk?

  12. An exotic combination and a gorgeous, colorful presentation. I'm adding this to a growing list of 'must try' mousses (mice)?

  13. thanks everyone for the encouraging comments.

    katrina - no advice on the painstaking task of removing pomegranate seeds from the pith. although i do have a very handy gadget that gets the seeds out very efficiently: it's called jonas and it's a very patient husband!

  14. This was definately one of my favorite entries! If only we could do a taste test before voting! :)

  15. This looks amazing! Orange blossom is one of my favorite flavors. I can't wait to try the recipe.

  16. i love your take on muhalabiah and ám making it this week, bought white choc and orange blosson water!!! got my fingers crossed... will post about it!

  17. rajani - i was so impressed by your version of this dish. here's the link if anyone else wants to see:


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