Aish Al-Saraya

Aish Al-Saraya literally translates to the royal court’s bread; basically meaning this dessert is fit for a king! This is no ordinary bread, as it is soaked in simple syrup, topped with cream and bejeweled with pistachios! In case you were wondering how it tastes, it is absolutely delicious!

Aish Al-Saraya is a very old and traditional dessert made mainly in the Levant. It is traditionally served warm in a large tray, but more modern recipes serve it cold, which is how I prefer to serve it in the summer. The warm version isn’t as firm as the cold version, but is equally delicious especially during the colder months. I recommend serving them in individual bowls to make it easier and neater.

The cold version is basically the Levant’s answer to cheesecake, since it has a breadcrumb base and a creamy top layer. The pistachios add the perfect crunchy texture to the silky smooth milk layer and the squidgy syrup soaked base. You could stray from the traditional version and use different toppings, such as fruit or chocolate, but I personally love pistachios so they are the perfect topping for me.

Make sure when making the base, you do not over process the bread and make the crumbs too fine otherwise they get really soggy. You want the toasted bread to be roughly chopped and you want to add enough syrup to make sure that it holds together. As for the milk base, continuously whisk it to avoid lumps forming and it burning. Cook it until it is thick to ensure that it will set later in the fridge and wait until it cools down before putting it in the fridge.

This recipe is really simple and straightforward and pretty quick to put together. Honestly the hardest part is waiting for it to set! Enjoy with a drizzle of syrup and a cup of mint tea.

Ingredients

Base

  • 8 pieces toast (without crust)
  • 1½ – 2 cups simple syrup

Creamy layer

  • 1½ cups milk
  • 4 tbsp starch
  • 1½ tbsp sugar
  • 180g ishta (thick cream)
  • Rose or orange blossom water (optional)
  • Pistachios to garnish

Instructions

  1. Toast the bread either in the toaster or the oven. Use a food processor to chop up the bread to rough crumbs.
  2. Pour the simple syrup and mix, making a moist crust that can come together when pressed.
  3. Press the crust into an 8-9 inch round cake tin with removable bottom.
  4. To make the creamy layer, mix the cold milk, starch and sugar in a pot on a medium heat and bring to a boil, add the thick cream and mix well, Make sure there are no lumps. If you are using rose or orange blossom water, add it after you’ve taken the pot off the heat.
  5. Pour the creamy layer on top of the base and make sure it is spread evenly. Refrigerate 3-4 hours or over night, until set.
  6. Top with pistachios and serve with a drizzle of simple syrup. Enjoy!
  7. Variation: This dish is more commonly served warm. The steps are pretty much the same, but instead of refrigerating, serve after you’ve put the dish together, garnished with pistachios and simple syrup. This will not be set and firm like the cold version but it’s comforting on a cold winter’s day!

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