Lebanese Nights, aka “Layali Lubnan” is an amazingly aromatic dessert that is quite refreshing in summer time. It has a rich complex taste stemming from subtle hints of Mastic (aka Mistika, or Mastika in Greek, or “Arabic Gum” (not to be mistaken with “Gum Arabic”) , orange blossom water and rose water. The bottom layer is made of the actual pudding, topped with a layer of whipped cream and a layer of coarsely ground fresh pistachios and sugar syrup.
You can serve Layali Lubnan in small cups/shots or you can lay the pudding in a tray as shown in the photos and then cut it into pieces. The pudding can last 3-5 days in the fridge but if you’re planning on keeping it that long you may want to keep the whipped cream in a separate container and add it only for serving. Whipped cream is known to lose volume after a few hours.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Lebanese, Middle Eastern
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 50 mins
Lebanese Nights aka “Layali Lubnan” is an easy-to-make, amazingly aromatic semolina pudding that is quite refreshing in summer time.
Pudding Ingredients (10 servings)
8 cups of whole milk
¾ cup of semolina
1 teaspoon of ground Mastika
6 to 8 tablespoons of sugar
3 tablespoons of rose water
3 tablespoons of orange blossom water
1 cup of coarsely ground fresh pistachio
Sugar Syrup Ingredients
1 cup of brown or white sugar
¾ cup of water
¼ teaspoon of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of orange blossom water
Whipped Cream Ingredients
2 cups of Heavy Cream (preferably pasteurized, but ultra-pasteurized is also ok)
1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
Vanilla extract (optional)
- Mix milk, semolina and sugar well in a cooking pot then bring to a boil on medium to high heat while continuously stirring and scalping the bottom (this is important so the semolina doesn’t clump or stick).
- As soon as it boils, lower heat to minimum, add ground Mastika all while stirring.
- When the pudding starts to thicken, remove from heat, add the rose water and orange blossom water, stir a bit so they are well dissipated and then immediately pour the hot pudding into your serving containers.
- The serving container could be a 2 inch-deep pyrex tray or small serving cups/bowls. Make sure to leave some room on the top for the whipped cream.
- Let rest and cool down at room temperature for about 40 minutes and meanwhile you can prepare the sugar syrup and the Whipped Cream.
- Mix water and sugar well then bring to a boil in a saucepan on medium heat.
- When boiling occurs, lower heat, add ¼ teaspoon of lemon juice and let it simmer for 10 minutes after which you remove from heat, add orange blossom water and let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
- Place Heavy Cream in a chilled stainless steal bowl (or place bowl on ice) and with a whisk whip your way through it for a few minutes vigorously.
- If you are using an electric whipper, start on low speed then increase the speed gradually.
- After a few minutes of whipping the Heavy Cream will increase in volume and turn into whipped cream as soft peaks start to form. At which point add the sugar and optional vanilla and whip a bit more to mix it in. Don’t over-whip the cream so it doesn’t turn into butter. Keep whipped cream chilled.
- Once the pudding has rested and cooled down place it in the fridge for a few minutes to chill, then top it with a ½ to ¾ inch layer of whipped cream, add a sprinkle of coarsely ground Pistachio and serve with sugar syrup (optional).