Apricot & Orange Blossom Pudding

This delicate dessert has all the looks of showstopper without the forty steps of a complicated recipe. I love custards and especially a french egg and vanilla bean creme pastry but this milk pudding is egg free and thicken with cornflour. Ive gone a little off the norm by using stevia to add sweetness and poached fruit.

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Lets start with I don’t know the exact origins of this pudding and at the risk of looking it up on Wikipedia it appears as a dessert loved by many different cultures. Lets face is desserts should have no boundaries. Flavoured with lemon in Italy, rose water in the Middle Eastern also called “Muhalbiyah”.

The Greek pudding called “Alevria” which can also be lactose free is often made with a reduction of grape juice to make a syrup or the milk version flavoured with mastic or orange blossom water. It is the Greek versions that I am most familiar with and most probably the first ever custard I ate as a child.

A variety of toppings common in to both the Middle east and the Mediterranean almost always include crushed walnuts or pistachios and spices like cinnamon.

Ive add poached fruit and its juices for freshness, like apricot halves but peaches are also perfect and if you preferred passionfruit or a raspberry coulis then go for it.

This pudding is flavoured with orange blossom water and a sprinkling of crushed pistachios and for added decadence Ive added a few dry edible rose petals.

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“Apricot & Orange Blossom Pudding”

4-5 serves

Ingredients

500ml Milk

40g Stevia

35g Cornflour

1 tablespoon Orange Blossom water

5-6 Poached Apricot halves reserve the juices

50g Pistachios – Crushed

Method

  1. In a medium saucepan add the stevia and the cornflour mix well.
  2. Add Milk and whisk together till no lumps of cornflour are visible.
  3. Continuously stir to stop it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Mix while on medium heat till it thickens and large bubbles rise to the top and keep mixing for a further 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the orange blossom water stir to combine.
  4. Pour the pudding into individual heat proof ramekins
  5. Allow to cool to room temperature then cool in the refrigerator
  6. Top with an apricot half, pour a little syrup over the top and sprinkle with crushed pistachios.

*For extra decadence Ive used edible dry tea rose for a little WOW! Factor 🙂 …………………..(I purchased the roses from T2 the tea shop)

*This recipe can be doubled if required

*Fresh edible flowers can be used (please be mindful to purchase these for consumption purposes as you do not want to be serving up flowers sprayed with pesticides)

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Walnut and Almond Semolina Halva – Karma-Free Dessert

Semolina halva is one of the most popular desserts found in Greece, India and the Middle-Eastern.

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The secret to good halva is to roast the semolina and the almond meal very slowly with the oil constantly stirring so as not to scorch the grains. Steam the finished halva by covering the plastic wrap and allow it to sit covered till it cools. This will ensure that every grain will be fluffy and plump.

My mother and grand mother both enjoyed making and eating halva. They had their own secret recipe which I found to be either too oily or too sweet or the grains were well crunchy would be the best descriptive word to use…..ok call me fussy!  Thankfully, after I did a little experimenting and made my version of the dessert neither of them would make it their way again preferring to use my recipe. I hope you enjoy this recipe too and it becomes your favourite.

The beauty of this dessert is that you can make small variations like adding 1/4 of soaked sultanas or use cashew nuts even adding coconut milk and vanilla extract. You have a base recipe to start with. 🙂

Serves 6 – 8

Ingredients:
Group A
3 cups Water
1 cup Sugar (I like to use Raw Caster Sugar)

Group B
1 1/4 cup Semolina
1/4 cup Almond Meal
1/3 cup Rice-Bran Oil

Group C
1 teaspoon Cinnamon Powder
1/3 cup Walnut pieces

Method:
Combine the Group A ingredients, place over moderate heat, stirring only till sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil then remove from heat.

Combine Group B in a 2 -3 litre sized saucepan and stir fry the grains over low heat till the grains are light golden and aromatic. (Take care not to scorch the grains it takes about 10 minutes).

Add Group C stir till all combined stir for a further 2-3 minutes.

Remove the saucepan of semolina from the heat, slowly pour the hot syrup into the semolina, stirring constantly. The grains will splutter at first (take care) it will quickly stop as the liquid is absorbed.

Pour the mix into a nonstick Bunt Cake pan (sprayed with oil) or as I have used individual moulds. Cover the halva with plastic wrap very tightly and set aside till it has cooled and ready to remove from the mould.

Serve cold with an extra sprinkle of semolina and crushed walnuts. I do also like making a vanilla custard to serve with the halva hot. I know it sounds strange but don’t knock it till you try it. 🙂

Enjoy

Cheers

Maria