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Saturday, 28 August 2010

Arabic Sweets part 1: Hareeseh - Samolina Cake

Please Click this link for this recipe in Arabic

Arabic Sweets Specialty Shops
There are many Arabic sweets that are truly a delicacy! You can walk into a specialty Arabic sweets shop and you will want everything there! Contrary to common belief, Arabic sweets are not hard to prepare. You can prepare these at home, and have them taste just as good as store-bought ones. They can even taste better at times! So I am posting some recipes here for you to try that are guaranteed to succeed, and taste better than bought ones. I will Start with

(also known as Basboosah in Egypt, & as Namoora in Lebanon)

Hareeseh (Samolina Cake) is a very popular dessert; so much so that in some Middle Eastern Cities it is common to see a push trolly scrolling down the streets selling Hareeseh. Especially by beaches, parks and even city centres :) Hareeseh can be bought by Kilo, or by large trays (large silver trays for larger quantities, commonly used with Arabic sweets, referred to as Sidder).

Hareeseh is among the Arabic Sweets, that can be served as dessert after a meal, had on its own with afternoon tea. In traditional Arabic customs, a guest would bring Arabic sweets for the host of a lunch or dinner as a token of appreciation for the host's efforts in preparing the food and hosting the get together.

Hareeseh is a bite of cake-like texture that's been drenched in sugar syrup. It is smooth, very moist and with a crunch from a piece of toasted almond placed on top of each piece. It is a treat by all means. Try it out, and impress your guests with a home-made hareeseh rather than a store-bought one. Especially if you are not from the Middle East, you can really impress your guests with an Arabic dessert that is succulent and different from your usual offering. 

Hareeseh is very simple to make, but requires time to be done, so make sure to plan ahead....

The ingredients below are for a large quantity ( silver tray: sidder size 60). If you do not have that tray, you can divide the quantity into several small serving platters..)
You Need
1 1/2 Kg Samolina
1 Kg Sugar
1/2 Kg Yoghurt
1.5 ltrs water (usually double the quantity of the yoghurt, you can use the yoghurt container to measure too)
1 tbsp Baking Powder
Peeled Almonds or coarsly crushed pistachios
1 cup ready Sugar Syrup (Qater)*

Hareeseh with Pistachio
To Make the Hareeseh
In a large container, mix all ingredients well together, and leave to set for 8 hours.

Spread in oven-proof serving platter (the layer should not be very thick, it should be about 1.5 inches thick). Top with a layer of crushed pistachios, or Almonds. Traditionally, hareeseh top is scored in diamond shapes and each diamond is topped with a piece of almond.

Bake in 375 F oven till golden brown on top.

Hreeseh can be served warm or cold, with sugar syrup on the side for those who like it sweeter.

Hareeseh with Almonds

When it comes to Arabic sweets, do you try to make them at home, or do you always choose to buy them from Arabic sweets shops? Having read this post, and seeing how simple it is to prepare Hareeseh, do you think that you will try and make it at home? share with me, leave a comment :)