Middle Eastern desserts have a special place in my heart. They're just so delicious! And this Aish El Saraya is one of my favorites. It's what I would call a Middle Eastern bread pudding. The term "Aish El Saraya" literally translates to Palace Bread in Arabic. SO this is a dessert fit for kings, you know? And you deserve to have it. It's super easy to make and will definitely impress your dinner guests.
How to make Aish El Saraya
Let's break it down: the base is a layer of deliciously toasted and crumbly white bread, mixed with simple syrup. The top layer is a luscious and rose flavored Ashta, which is otherwise known as clotted cream. Finally, it's topped with pistachios, and I add some rose buds for visual impact. It's a chilled dessert, served with extra simple syrup on the side for your guests to add to their preference. I can't get enough of it. Now let's talk about each element...
Ashta (clotted cream) is an element found in so many Middle Eastern desserts. It's typically made by actually clotting the cream using vinegar, but I've been making it using a really easy method. To get the delicious creamy easy Ashta - I just mix half and half and whipping cream with cornstarch and cook over medium heat, mixing it the whole time so the bottom doesn't burn. And voila! Call it cheating - I call it smart and efficient. Still tastes delicious.
The simple syrup is another element used in almost all Middle Eastern desserts like Aish El Saraya (examples: Atayef, Knafa, and Baklava). It's so easy to make. You just mix the sugar, water, and a squeeze of lemon together and simmer it over medium heat for 10 minutes. Done and done. It's stored at room temperature and you can use it in so many ways as a replacement for granulated sugar (think cold desserts or cold drinks - this is the perfect way to sweeten them).
Finally, you have the base bread layer which is simply toasted bread (and make sure you use white bread), crumbled using a food processor, and mixed with the simple syrup to sweeten it and allow it to be packed down into the pan. That's it! It may sound like a lot of elements, but they're all so easy to make and can be made simultaneously so that by the end of about 30 minutes, you'll be sitting down and waiting patiently for it to chill in the fridge. Try this bread pudding out... you won't be disappointed. Especially if you're a Middle Eastern desserts fan like me. This Aish El Saraya recipe will have you serving it in your palace all the time. Also - check out the video of me making it below!
Middle Eastern Bread Pudding (Aish El Saraya) by hungrypaprikas on Jumprope.
For more easy desserts, check out:
Aish El Saraya
|This bread pudding is unlike any other you've had! A sweet and crumbly base, topped with a luscious clotted cream flavored with rose water, and topped with pistachios.|
For the Clotted Cream (Ashta):
- 1 L half & half 32 oz (if you can't find half & half, use whole milk)
- 473 mL whipping cream 16 oz
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup corn starch
- 1 tbsp rose water or orange blossom water, or skip this
For the Simple Syrup:
- 4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups water
- Squeeze of lemon
For the Bread:
- 16 pieces white bread
- Pistachios or any other nuts
- Rose buds optional
- Start by preheating the oven to 400F
- Place the white bread on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden, about 20-25 minutes. Once toasted, break into pieces and process in a food processor until you form breadcrumbs
- Add the sugar, water, and lemon for the simple syrup to a pot and mix well. Place on the stove on medium heat and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. Remove and let it cool
- Mix the half & half, whipping cream, sugar and cornstarch for the Ashta in a pot. Using a whisk, mix very well until the cornstarch has dissolved
- Once combined together, place the pot on the stove on medium high heat and continuously whisk for about 10 minutes until thickened. Don't stop mixing as the cream may burn at the bottom of the pot
- Allow the Ashta to cool and add 1 tbsp of rose water and mix well
- Mix the breadcrumbs with 2 cups of the simple syrup (there will be more syrup left over - store at room temperature) very well until combined
- In a 9x13 baking pan (I used two 9x6 pans), spread the bread mixture and at the bottom and pack it down using the bottom of a cup
- Next, spread the Ashta (clotted cream) on top and smooth out using a spatula
- Garnish with pistachios (or any other nuts if you don't have pistachios)
- Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight
- Serve with the additional simply syrup on the side - everyone can add their own syrup on top per preference
- There is simple syrup mixed in with the bread, so the dessert has a mild sweetness. Serve the extra simple syrup on the side for everyone to add on top of their piece per preference
- The pudding should be stored in the fridge and will last for 2-3 days
- The simple syrup can be stored at room temperature in a glass container or jar