The November sweet was hosted by Joumana from www.tasteofbeirut.com - and she made a wonderful choice!
I did it!!! My first challenge for the Walima Cooking group. At first I was definately skeptical regarding this recipe....the bottom is bread....the top has no sugar in it, hmmmm doesn't sound too tempting. But checking the web and asking friends of Lebanese heritage I understood that this recipe is a winner. And it was. The sweet syrup poured over the bread with a wonderful hint of orange blossom water made this such a wonderfully typical middle eastern dessert.
I took it to my nephew's Bar Mitzva brunch and the dessert vanished way before the other desserts...:-)
This is definately a recipe I will make over and over again!!
I only wish that through our recipes maybe peace will prevail between our countries. AMEN!!!
Walima is a Middle Eastern Cooking Club, with talented cooks from around the globe.
The Club extends the invitation to all Arab Cooks around the world, as well to every cook who enjoys cooking and has passion for Middle Eastern Cuisine! In the mean time, the group does encourage and welcome every cook (blogger and/or non blogger) to join and be part of Walima’s talented and spicy team
The groups goal is to accept, support, and appreciate each other; while educating, respecting and indulging in each member’s culture and catering in a family environment. Moreover, to emphasize and generously the nutritional and healthy aspect of Arabic Food!
Walima November cooking challenge will represent the Lebanese Cuisine. Talking about Lebanon which comes from Laban or the high White Mountain, this also reflects our food and what a coincidence that both recipes have dairy
Sweet Challenge:The Bread of the Seraglio ( Aysh el-Saraya)
1 round loaf white bread, about 8 inches in diameter, 1 day old
9 ounces golden superfine sugar
4 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
scant 1/2 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon orange blossom water
1 tablespoon rose water
1 3/4 cups Lebanese clotted cream or Ashta 2 tablespoons pistachios, ground medium-fine
Cut off the crust of the bread and keep for bread crumbsSlice off the top of the white bread to get one flat slice about 1 1/2 inch thick and put it in a round serving dish about the same size as the bread.Tear the rest of the bread in thick pieces and use them to fill the gaps in the dish.
Put the sugar, water and lemon juice in a deep frying pan and place over medium heat. Bring to the boil and cook, stirring constantly, so that the sugar does not crystallize in places, for about 20 minutes or until it is caramelized.Towards the end of the cooking time, measure 7 ounces of water and bring to a boil in a teakettle. When the sugar is caramelized, start adding the water gradually without taking the sugar mixture off the heat. Be very careful, because the sugar will start spluttering and you could burn yourself!Pour the boiling syrup all over the bread and transfer the soaked bread to the pan. Place over medium heat and cook pressing the bread with the back of a spoon to mash it and make it soak up the syrup.Clean the edges of the serving dish and slide the bread back onto it, spreading it evenly across the dish. Let it cool then cover the bread entirely with cream.
Chill then cover with pistachios right before serving.
Clotted cream or Ashta:
2 slices of white bread without the crust
2 cups half-and-halfCut the bread in small pieces and place in a saucepanPour the cream or half-and-half over the bread Bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer 10 minutes, stirring often.Cool then refrigerate. It should keep for 4 to 5 days. Makes 1 pint.Makes 4