Muhallabia – Middle Eastern Pudding

middle eastern pudding with orange blossom

I hate food waste (see Foods You Can Freeze) – part of it is my frugal side and the other part is due to years of hearing my father’s voice while growing up: “Don’t waste it, Grace – there are many hungry people out there who would wish to eat that.” And though I throw out food on more than one occasion, I do try to waste as little as possible.

Milk is one of those foods that spoils quickly. Side note:  ever had a gallon of milk expire before the due date? I’m not just talking about one day before the due date – more like 4 days before the due date? Yeah, big pet peeve.

Anyways recently, I bought milk – too much. And so I was stuck with an extra half gallon that I knew would expire in a few days. I knew we couldn’t drink it all in time and so I made my favorite Syrian pudding (I posted this recipe when I started the blog but it has since been tweaked and better pictures added). This recipe is called Muhallabia or Mouhalabieh or Mhalabia. Really, there are an infinite number of ways to spell this dessert. Pronunciation: Moo-hel-la-bee-ya

Main tips of advice for this recipe – watch the milk while it’s boiling carefully – burnt milk is not appetizing and neither are chunks of cornstarch. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything. Also, be sure to buy the Cortas brand of orange blossom water. When we were in St. Thomas, I bought the Fee Brothers brand thinking I would surprise everyone with a tasty Syrian treat. However, I was sorely disappointed. I had to use 5x the amount of orange blossom water as I normally do with the Cortas brand and even then the flavor wasn’t right. It had no flowery aroma and it barely tasted of orange blossom water. Maybe I bought a dud that just happened to pale in comparison to the other Fee Brothers’ orange blossom waters (sometimes St. Thomas doesn’t have the best foods stocked) but honestly, I’d never again buy the brand for fear of the experiencing repeating itself.

If anyone has ever tried Fee Brothers, I’d love to hear your thoughts…

middle eastern pudding with orange blossom
middle eastern pudding with orange blossom
Muhallabia: Middle Eastern Pudding with Orange Blossom Water

Muhallabia: Middle Eastern Pudding with Orange Blossom Water


  • 6 cups milk
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 5 1/2 T cornstarch
  • 2 tsp orange blossom water*
  • Garnish:: nuts


    Heat milk and sugar in a saucepan on med-high heat.

    While milk is heating, remove 1 cup of milk mixture and place in a bowl. Add cornstarch and whisk well.

    Add back to pan and stir. Bring to a boil, whisking often (watch carefully – will easily burn or stick to bottom of pan).

    Once mixture thickens, remove from heat. Add orange blossom water.

    Pour into bowls or cups or ramekins. Cool.

    Once cooled (must be lukewarm or cooler), place in refrigerator and chill for at least an hour.

    Top with toasted nuts.


*Cortas brand is best


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