"Basic cooking skills are a virtue... the ability to feed yourself and a few others with proficiency should be taught to every young man and woman as a fundamental skill. [It's] as vital to growing up as learning to wipe one's own ass, cross the street by oneself, or be trusted with money." - Anthony Bourdain
Middle Eastern desserts are, in my opinion, one of the best in the world. One of the main components of most Middle Eastern desserts is the simple syrup. These sweets are usually dipped or soaked in the thick, oozing greatness. This recipe is my twist on one of the most popular Lebanese desserts. People don’t always make this dish at home because it looks really intimidating to make but it’s very simple, you'll be surprised. Most people are more likely to buy it in Middle Eastern bakeries or, as they are called in the Middle East, sweet shops. Osmalieh is widely served in most Middle Eastern restaurants, as well.
This Golden Katayfi Cake with Rose and Orange Blossom Flavored Cream is composed of a super crispy base of oven-toasted or fried shredded phyllo dough, also known as Katayfi, topped with barely sweetened flavored cream, known as ashta, and served with a small pitcher of syrup. I like to pour a little bit of the syrup on top before serving too. It is delicious, decadent yet relatively light, and of course easy!
1/2 pound Katayfi dough*
1 cup clarified butter, melted
1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
4 cups half & half
2 cups heavy whipping cream
5 tablespoons corn starch
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tspn rose water
2 tspns orange blossom water
1 ½ cups water
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
6 inch baking pan
Handful of ground pistachios (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Place the clarified butter and unsalted butter into a microwave safe bowl or measuring cup and melt.
Place the Katayfi dough in another bowl.
Once melted, add the butter onto the dough and using your hands mix together to completely coat. (The dough should be glossy. If you believe it needs more butter, feel free to melt more and add it to the dough. Remember it should be fully coated not dripping wet.)
Place 3/4 of this dough in the springform baking pan and press down to compress and level.
Place the other 1/4 of dough in the other pan.
Place both into the oven and bake for about 30 - 45 minutes, till golden in color.
In the meantime, in a pot, add half & half, heavy whipping cream, sugar, and corn starch. Whisk and keep stirring until the mixture boils and begins to thicken.
Once it begins to thicken to a pudding consistency, add orange blossom and rose water into boiling mixture. Stir well to fully incorporate the flavors. Remove from heat and let cool till ready to use.
Boil sugar and water.
Once thickened, add lemon juice and remove from heat.
When the dough is golden, remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes.
Pour the flavored cream into the springform pan on top of the golden dough and level using your spatula.
Crumble the dough from the second pan on top of the flavored cream and top with a sprinkle of ground pistachios.
Place in fridge overnight.
When ready to serve, ladle about 1/4 a cup of the syrup on top. Remove from springform pan and serve.
Serve with the extra syrup on the side for anyone who wants extra sweetness.
*NOTE: If you cannot find half and half, use 2 cups of milk and 2 additional cups of Heavy Whipping Cream.