I have a confession to make: I love dessert, especially when it’s homemade. My boys are with me on this one.
There’s nothing better than having something sweet prepared at home with lots of love: it lifts your spirits instantly and it’s the perfect treat after a long day.
I remember how excited I was as a child when my mum was making dessert. There was quite a competition for who gets to lick the cake bowl at the end – imagine 7 kids all gathered in the kitchen trying to scrape that bowl clean. Poor mum!
One of my most cherished childhood memories is when she treated us with Turkish delight sandwiches along with hot cocoa served in little traditional coffee cups. We would sit together with our parents in the lounge room, enjoying our dessert and feeling like proper grown-ups.
These days Middle Eastern desserts are quite popular for their exotic flavours such as rose water and orange blossom essence and their delightful presentation. However, some people are discouraged from preparing them at home for fear that the recipe might prove too complicated to follow.
As I want everyone to enjoy the desserts I know and love so much, I included my favourite recipes in this journal. All of them are quick, simple to make, and delicious to the last bite!
From the sweet traditional baklawa and knafeh to the festive walnut stuffed Mamoul and orange blossom semolina cakes to my own Middle Eastern-inspired creations, here are 13 dessert recipes that will surely satisfy your sweet tooth:
A traditional homemade dessert, the knife consists of a creamy filling with crispy kataifi pastry layers drizzled with orange blossom syrup and topped with crushed pistachios. If you are a cheesecake lover, you might want to give this one a go.
Baklawa is a classic Middle Eastern dish and a definite crowd-pleaser at any gathering. There’s nothing easier than preparing these sweet parcels – all you need is your trusty cupcake tray.
Shay’biyat is a super easy and delicious homemade Lebanese dessert that will wow any sweet-toothed person. With layers and layers of crispy filo dough sprinkled with rose water infused syrup and a creamy filling of Ashta milk pudding, what more could one ask for?
This extremely simple and creamy rose-flavoured dessert will take you less than 20 minutes to make. Don’t forget to soak the mini rusks with rose water infused syrup before pouring the hot pudding on top for the yummiest results.
Typically prepared on the occasion of new birth in the family, this exotic and fragrant dessert is best served cold. The various colourful toppings such as slivered almonds, pine nuts, walnuts, pistachio, coconut flakes, and dried apricots not only give this dish an elegant aspect but also add some contrasting crunchiness
I couldn’t resist adding a modern twist to the traditional namoura cake. With a sweet, nutty flavour and a soft texture, these bite-sized treats are perfect for dinner parties.
These buttery cookies are one of my favourite festive sweets – we always have them for Eid in our home. Their beautiful design is created using a traditional wooden mould, but you can use any mould you have on hand.
Unique and delicious, these sandwich-like treats will be the star of your dessert table. The traditional filling for these is Ashta, although I mostly use ricotta for my simplified version of the recipe.
The alternative coconut version of the date delight sandwiches won’t disappoint either.
Together with the date and the coconut delight sandwiches, they’re the mini desserts that all your guests will love.
What do you get by combining the intense flavour of dark chocolate with juicy raspberries and crunchy pistachios? Prepare for the most delicious and gooey brownie you’ve ever tasted.
A simple no-bake dessert that you can prepare ahead and keep in the freezer for whenever you have guests coming over.
This is another popular recipe to which I added my Middle Eastern twist. I really think that the orange blossom water and the crushed pistachios take this dessert to another level.
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Also, as you can’t speak of desserts without mentioning chocolate cake even a little, make sure to check out my Chocolate Orange Cake and Chocolate Mint Cake recipes. They’re the chocolate lover’s dream come true, trust me.
Now go and brighten up your day with something sweet!