Halawet el jibn is a sweet and delicious Middle Eastern dessert that’s perfect for any occasion. The key to making this dessert is to work the cheese over the heat until it becomes smooth and stretchy, giving it the perfect texture. If you don’t have access to sweet cheese, you can use regular mozzarella cheese instead. Just be sure to soak it in water for a couple of hours beforehand to remove the excess salt. After kneading the mixture and stretching it out, you can tear it into bite-sized pieces and plate it for a beautiful presentation. Garnish with chopped pistachios or drizzle with attir for an extra touch of sweetness.
If you’re a fan of Middle Eastern sweets, be sure to check out my blog for 13 more delicious dessert recipes that will satisfy your sweet tooth. From baklava to knafeh, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. But for now, let’s focus on the star of the show – Halawet el jibn. This dessert is a real treat and is sure to impress your guests. With a little bit of practice, you’ll be able to master the art of stretching the cheese and create a beautiful dessert that looks as good as it tastes.
To make the sugar syrup, place all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil (this happens fairly fast), lower the heat, and continue to boil for approximately 5 minutes until the syrup slightly thickens. Remove from heat and cool completely. Remember the syrup will thicken more once cooled.
In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the sugar and water and heat over low to medium heat until the sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally.
Add the fine semolina to the sugar-water mixture, then add the diced cheese.
Lower the heat and whisk until combined stirring constantly, until the cheese has melted and the mixture has thickened. Using a wooden spoon, knead the mixture over the heat until it becomes smooth and stretchy. Be sure to work the cheese well, getting into all those lumps and stretching the cheese out ( you may find yourself slightly moving the pot away from the stove - that's ok too)
Once the mixture has thickened and is smooth, remove it from the heat. Pour ¼ cup of sugar syrup on a clean bench and place the ball of cheese on top and pour approximately 2 tablespoons of the sugar syrup over the top to help you roll it.
Begin to stretch out the cheese dessert with a rolling pin as thin as possible. It may look like it's stuck to the bench, but you can lift it like a wave.
Dollop some syrup on your hands and stretch out further with your finger, avoiding using your fingertips. Once the cheese dessert is thin, tear it into bite-sized pieces and plate it.
Garnish with chopped pistachios or drizzle with attir, if desired.