White Chocolate Sahlab

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Sahlab is a rich, dreamy, creamy, and flavorful concoction flavored with orange blossom water and cinnamon. And it is perfect for the colder months of year. I must admit, however, that I cannot help but enjoy it year round as it fills me with a nostalgia difficult to explain. It takes me back to my childhood days when I would sit with my grandmother on her Amman rooftop and sip away while observing the street rhythms.

This Palestinian dessert of Ottoman origins, is made by simmering together milk, cornstarch, and sugar until thick and creamy. Traditionally, an instant sahlab powder is used, but as it can be challenging to find outside of the Middle East, I use cornstarch as a substitute, and it works perfectly. As for the white chocolate, that’s just my personal addition, and it complements the orange blossom water divinely. The result is an extra indulgent and aromatic treat that will be sure to keep you warm and well accompanied.

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INGREDIENTS/ SERVES 2

3 cups milk (700 ml)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons sugar
small pinch salt
100 gr./1/2 cup good quality white chocolate chips or solid bar, finely chopped
1 cinnamon stick
5 cardamom pods, optional
1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water
coconut flakes for garnish
ground cinnamon for garnish
chopped pistachio, for garnish

METHOD

1. Whisk together the milk, cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a pitcher until smooth and there are no visible lumps.

2. Pour the milk mixture into a saucepan, add the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, and chocolate, and bring to a simmer over medium heat while stirring. After about 5 minutes, as it begins to bubble, bring the temperature down to low and continue to simmer, stirring often for an additional 12-15 minutes. The sahlab should noticeably thicken during the last 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the orange blossom water.

3. Serve the drink into 2 mugs and top with coconut flakes, cinnamon, and pistachio, or any other topping of choice. Enjoy! And do let me know how you liked this recipe! 🙂

NOTES

1. This treat can also be refrigerated for a few hours and enjoyed cold, an equally delicious option!

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