"This is a traditional Lebanese sweet that can be found in sweet shops all over Lebanon," says Rabih of Al Afrah Sweets.
- 315 g unsalted butter
- 1 kg fine semolina
- 250 ml (1 cup) milk
- 110 g (½ cup) caster sugar
- 250 g ashta (Lebanese clotted cream, see Note), regular clotted cream or double cream
- slivered almonds, ground pistachios and crystallised flower petals (see Note), to serve
- 220 g (1 cup) caster sugar
- 1 tsp rosewater
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Cooling time 25 minutes
Preheat oven to 220°C. Melt 190 g butter, then combine with semolina, milk and sugar in a bowl until mixture comes together. Spread out in a greased, shallow ovenproof dish. Bake for 20 minutes or until starting to brown. Using a fork, break up mixture into large pieces, then return to oven and bake for a further 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly.
Meanwhile, to make syrup, place 250 ml water and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Cook for 1 minute or until slightly reduced. Stir in rosewater, then set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
Melt remaining 125 g butter. Process the semolina mixture in a food processor to a fine powder. With the motor running, add melted butter and syrup, processing to a paste. Cool.
Spread the semolina mixture onto a large serving platter or plate, top with ashta and serve scattered with almonds, pistachios and crystallised flower petals.
• Ashta is from Lebanese sweet shops.
• Crystallised flower petals are available from specialist cake shops.