Lebanese Osmalieh Vermicelli Dessert
In The Lebanese Cookbook, Hussien Dekmak explains that this dessert is not often made by the home baker, but it is not that difficult and yet provides an impressive result, so why not give it a try? You will have to source a few ingredients, but most likely the kadayif pastry as well as the rose water and orange blossom water can all be found in one location. Look in Middle Eastern specialty grocery stores or online. Also check out the Ashtalieh Cream Pudding, also from this book, which is filled with evocative writing and images that really set a time and place.
Excerpted with permission from The Lebanese Cookbookby Hussien Dekmak. Published by Kyle Books. Photography by Martin Brigdale.
This is another popular Lebanese dessert. People don’t always make it at home – they are more likely to buy it in sweet shops – but it’s very simple to make. You can buy the osmalieh pastry dough in Turkish and Mediterranean shops – it is sometimes called kadayif. The cream has a secret ingredient: everyone who tries it will be amazed when you tell them it contains bread.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon rose water
- 1 teaspoon orange blossom water
- 21/2 cups single cream
- 5 slices bread, toasted and crusts removed
- 1 teaspoon rose water
- 1 teaspoon orange flower water
- 2 tablespoons sugar syrup
- 2¼ lbs osmalieh pastry dough
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon finely grated pistachio nuts
- sugar syrup, to serve
- For the Sugar Syrup: Heat the sugar and ½ cup water in a pan over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the lemon juice and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 minutes, then stir in the rose water and orange blossom water. Leave to cool.
- First, make the sweet cream sauce. Pour the single cream into a saucepan.
- Crush the toast into fine pieces and add to the bowl. Whip the mixture until the toast blends into the cream.
- Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
- Lower the heat and add the orange flower water, rose water, and sugar syrup. When the mixture is firm, remove from the heat and allow to cool before use.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Divide the osmalieh dough into two pieces. Put one piece at the bottom of a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Brush the top side with half of the oil and bake in the oven for 10–15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and drain of any oil. Repeat the same procedure with the second piece of dough.
- Put one piece of the cooked dough on a serving plate and spread the cream sauce on top, saving some for decoration. Top with the second piece of dough. Pour over the sugar syrup.
- Pipe small blobs of cream on top and sprinkle with grated pistachio. Serve fresh.
Is the only sweetener in the cream filling the 2 tablespoons of simple syrup? It seems like a very small amount of sugar to 2.5 cups of cream and 5 slices of bread. Thickening the cream with a panade is an interesting technique. I will have to try this.
I have made a similar pastry, but I poured a quarter or so of the syrup over the bottom layer before adding the filling to ensure it remained moist.
This is the amount of sweetener suggests by the author. I suppose as long as the texture is not compromised, you could try a bit more. Love your idea about a bottom layer of sweetener that acts as moistener as well.