Muhallabieh (Lebanese Milk Pudding)

A quick and easy Lebanese milk pudding dessert that’s so quick to whip up. I love making this for breakfast, a brunch get together, or an afternoon dessert.

Ingredients
1 Liter (4 cups) whole milk
50g (6 Tablespoons) cornstarch
110g (½ cup) granulated sugar
2 Tbsp orange blossom water
Strawberries, blueberries, crushed pistachio or any other nut for decoration

Directions
1. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with a little milk to form a loose paste. Pour the remaining milk into a heavy-based pan and stir in the sugar. Bring the milk to barely a simmer, stirring continuously until the sugar has dissolved.
2. Reduce the heat and stir a spoonful of the hot milk into the cornstarch paste, then tip the mixture back into the pan. Keep whisking constantly to prevent the flour from forming lumps. Bring the milk to the boil again. Take the pot off the heat when the pudding is thick and coats the back of the spoon. Stir in the orange blossom water.
4. Pour the muhallabieh into a large 9″ (23cm) glass dish or small bowls. serving bowl and let it cool, allowing a skin to form on top. When cool, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours. Decorate with fruits and sprinkle with pistachios right before serving.

Chocolate Chunk Vegan Brownies

Recipe:

45g (1.5 oz) semi-sweet or dark chocolate (I used Guittard 75%)
45g (6 tbsp) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp espresso Powder
½ tsp salt
120ml (½ cup) boiling water
50g (¼ cup) melted coconut oil
2 tbsp tahini (or sub coconut oil)
150g (¾ cup) coconut or castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla Extract
1 cup (120g) All-Purpose Flour (you can use spelt or rye flour too)
½ tsp Baking Powder
90g (3oz) dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
½ cup toasted walnuts, chopped
Maldon sea salt for finishing touch

1. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Grease and line an 8″ (20cm) square pan.
2. In a bowl, combine dark chocolate, cocoa powder, espresso powder and sea salt. Pour boiling water over and whisk until you achieve a smooth chocolate mixture.
3. Add coconut oil, tahini, sugar and vanilla and whisk to combine. Leave to cool for 5 minutes.
4. Once cooled, add flour and baking powder to the mixture and whisk till smooth. Fold in dark chocolate chunks and walnuts.
5. Pour batter into pan, sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and leave to cool for at least 2 hours or until completely cool before cutting (you can also chill them in the fridge).

Buckwheat Rhubarb Galette

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

120g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
40g (1/3 cup) buckwheat flour
113g (1 stick) butter, cold
40ml (2 Tbsp) ice water
2 Tbsp sugar
pinch of salt

500g rhubarb stalks
100g castor sugar
1.5 Tbsp cornstarch
Egg wash (1 small egg whisked with a splash of water)
Turbinado sugar

Optional – Rhubarb Glaze:
150g (5ox) tops and tails of rhubarb
100g (1/2 cup) castor sugar
A splash of water

Dough

1. Whisk all-purpose and buckwheat flours, sugar, and salt in a large bowl to combine. Add butter and work into dry ingredients with your hands, mashing it into big flat pieces and smooshing it between your palms into the flour, until you have pea- and nickel-size pieces.
2. Drizzle ¼ cup ice water over mixture and rake it in with your fingers until evenly dispersed. Squeeze clumps with your hands to moisten until a shaggy dough forms, then turn out onto a work surface.
3. Gather dough together, pushing and working it into a ball, then flattening it, until only a few dry spots remain. Pat into a ¾”-thick square. Using a bench scraper or knife, divide dough into 4 pieces. Stack pieces on top of one another, placing any unincorporated dry bits in between layers, and press down to combine. Form dough into a ¾”-thick disk and wrap tightly in plastic. Chill until firm, at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

Filling and Assembly

4. Preheat oven to 400°F and Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Take out the chilled dough a few minutes before rolling out.
5. Roll out dough on a well-floured surface to a 14″ round, rotating dough and tossing more flour underneath as needed to keep it from sticking. Transfer dough to the baking sheet and refrigerate to chill.
6. Prepare the rhubarb: cut off and discard the leaves, trim off and reserve the ends of each stalk. Cut the stalks into three or four pieces and then cut each piece lengthwise into 5mm (1/4″) strips. Toss the rhubarb pieces with the cornstarch and sugar in a medium bowl.
7. Remove the baking sheet from the fridge and arrange and mound the rhubarb filling in center of dough, making sure to leave a 4cm (2″) border around edges. Fold dough up and over filling, overlapping slightly, and make a decorative edge. Brush dough with egg wash and sprinkle dough and filling generously with turbinado sugar for a nice crunch.
8. Bake galette until filling is bubbling and crust is deeply browned, 40–50 minutes. Let cool slightly and serve with whipped cream.
Optional:
You can make a glaze for the galette by boiling the reserved bits or rhubarb with the sugar and water until the fruit is soft. Strain the syrup into a bowl and brush it over the baked galette for a nice shine.

Sesame Oatmeal Cookies

Tahini is that one ingredient that’s constantly on rotation in my kitchen. I love to use it in salad dressings, drizzle it on roasted vegetables, or mix it in carob molasses for a quick dessert. I’ve also been experimenting with it in pastries and found that the sesame taste overpowers neutral-ish ingredients like a carrot or zucchini. However, it sometimes compliments and enhances dominant ingredients wonderfully like this chocolate soufflé cake. Or it can also add unexpected notes of nuttiness and bold flavors in these oatmeal raisin cookies.

Recipe adapted from Melissa Clarke

180g (1 cup) golden raisins
160ml (⅔ cup) rum for soaking (substitute with apple juice, or any other liquor)

180g (1½ cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp fine grain salt
226g (1 cup, 2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
250g (1¼ cup) light brown sugar
50g (¼ cup) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, cold
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp tahini
1 tsp rum
300g (3 cups) thick rolled oats
15g (2 Tbsp) sesame seeds

1. Optional: Soak the raisins in the rum for at least an hour. Lightly toast the rolled oats and sesame seeds on a baking sheet until lightly golden (6-8 minutes in a 350°F/180°C oven).
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, 2 tsp cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the softened butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium speed for 5 minutes until pale and creamy. Turn off the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. On low speed, beat in the eggs, tahini, and vanilla until well incorporated.
4. Add the flour mixture and mix until barely combined. Drain the raisin (reserve the rum for another use or add in a splash in the batter!) and mix that in with the oats until just combined.
5. Put the bowl in the fridge for 30 min until the dough firms up.
6. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 350°F/180°C and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
7. Scoop 1 tablespoon portions of the batter and place them 2 in./ 5 cm apart.
8. Bake for 9-12 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through baking, until the edges are golden and the tops look underdone. After 2 minutes of taking them out of the oven, transfer to wire racks to cool completely and firm up.
9. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days (they can also be frozen for up to a month).

Apple Cake with Spelt Flour

A wonderful apple cake recipe that’s highly customizable. I lightly adapted Emiko Davies‘ recipe and added thinly slices apples to give the top of the cake a rustic look. Feel free to fold in chopped toasted walnuts in the batter or plump raisins to add texture and a chewy bite to the soft melt-in-your mouth cake.

Recipe adapted from Emiko DaviesFlorentine: The True Cuisine of Florence

2 large apples, peeled and sliced 1cm thick
1 small apple sliced thinly with a mandolin slicer for decoration (optional)
Juice and zest of one organic medium lemon
300g (2⅔ cups) spelt flour (or use all-purpose flour)
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g (¾ cup) granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
3 large eggs, at room temperature
150ml (⅔ cup) whole milk, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F/180°C. Butter and flour an 8″ inch (20cm) cake tin and line the bottom with parchment paper.
2. Place the apple slices in a bowl with the lemon juice and 2 extra tablespoons of sugar to reduce browning.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the spelt flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
4. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on, beat the softened butter and sugar on medium high until pale and creamy for 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and beat very well until you have a thick, pale mixture. Turn the speed to low, gradually add the milk and vanilla extract until incorporated. Using a large spatula, fold in the flour mixture until barely combined then mix in the apple slices.
5. Pour the batter into a cake tin and place the thinly sliced apples all over the surface, overlapping them slightly. Bake at 180°C for 55-60 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
6. Cool down completely before turning it out on a wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Banana Bread with Dates and Walnuts

A classic banana bread recipe with soft chewy dates and toasted crunchy walnuts baked in the batter. The not too ripe bananas and few teaspoons of cornstarch in the batter give it a nice tender structure that’s not too moist and mushy. Feel free to experiment with other add-in ingredients like substituting the dates with figs, and the walnuts with toasted skinned hazelnuts!


Makes one 9″x5″ Loaf
Recipe adapted from the Tivoli Bakery Cookbook

155g all-purpose flour
28g (2 tbsp) cornstarch
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
250g ripe bananas, peeled
juice of half a lemon
2 large eggs, at room temperature lightly whisked
1 tsp vanilla extract
85g butter, at room temperature
110g caster sugar
100g walnut halves
140g pitted dates, sliced
1 small banana, less ripe (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 160C (320F). Grease a 9″x5″ (23cm x 13cm) loaf pan and line with baking paper.
2. Sift the flours, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Mash the ripe bananas with the lemon juice in a separate small bowl. Stir in the whisked eggs and vanilla extract.
3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and the sugar until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the egg/banana mixture beating well between each addition until fully incorporated. Add the dry ingredients and mix gently until barely combined then add the walnuts and dates.
4. Peel the other less ripe banana and cut into two thin slices lengthways. Pour the batter into the tin, and place the two banana slices on top (if the slices are thick then they will sink into the cake). Bake for 50-60 minutes until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave the tin for a few minutes then transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely.