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Saturday, 11 August 2012

Arabic Desserts Buffet - Entertain That Sweet Tooth

Buffet of Arabic Desserts

"Dima, I feel like a domestic goddess right now!"  - Nielouphar's comment after making my Pistachio Cake with Rosewater Cream

Whenever I plan a menu, I actually start with desserts! I even plan my whole menu around the desserts I want to serve! My husband always tells me: "You like to entertain at home because it is a chance for you to make desserts!" It is true in a way. Just like I have an appetisers buffet every time I host Iftar, lunch or dinner, I also always have a desserts Buffet! I love Desserts Buffets!!

An array of classic Arabic Desserts

Desserts lend themselves well for presentation. Whether simply placed on a tiered plate, a cake stand, or even when fully plated with a sauce and accompanying garnish; desserts always look good. This is one section of the menu where you can shine showing your artistry, and your stylish sense. The same dessert can be presented in many different ways, garnished with many different items each time making it taste and appear new.

In today's post, and since it's Ramadan, I am focusing on Arabic desserts. I do promise to write another post  for a buffet of international and best loved desserts. But for now, we are sticking to the Arabic sweetness!

No Ramadan desserts buffet is complete without Um Ali! This is the arabic take on bread pudding. Although Um Ali is traditionally made with bread, and in some cases using cornflakes and Kullaj pastry, I make mine with butter croissants. I find the flavour and texture to be much better than the otherwise plain bread or pastry. Also as a flavour enhancer I soak all the nuts in Orange Blossom water a few hours in advance. You won't believe how succulent my version of Um Ali is. You just have to try it to know, and those who did have told me, it is the best Um Ali they have ever had! go for it, find the full recipe on this link.

Arabic Rice Pudding - Ruz Bhaleeb

Still on the note of puddings, one very famous Arabic pudding is Ruz Bhaleeb. It is a classic Arabic rice pudding. This is a very simple recipe, yet a delicious one that is loved by kids and adults alike. For a more modern presentation of this classic dessert, place the finished rice pudding in Mini dessert cups and garnish with Orange blossom water soaked nuts and raisins. Or you can place the pudding in ramekins, top with sugar and burn the sugar away as you would a creme brulee. You can flavour Ruz Bhaleeb to any flavour really. From cardamom to cinnamon, even ginger or cloves... this dessert is very open to your preferred flavours. I choose orange blossom water, as it is very Ramadan to me!


Mughli or Karawya (ground caraway pudding), is another divine Arabic pudding. It is very unique and really tasty. Although Mughli is usually served at baby showers, it is still a fabulous Arabic dessert for a desserts Buffet. Place the Mughli in small dessert cups, garnish with the pre-soaked nuts and stop munching if you can! Find the recipe here.

An entire buffet of Atayef

Is there anything that says Ramadan dessert better than Atayef? Ramadan and Atayef are synonymous! Atayef is such a decadent dessert that I have on many occasions served an entire buffet of only Atayef! Yes that is right! There are many toppings, flavours and ways to serve atayef. They are super delicious and are extra sweet! Add a selection atayef to your buffet and see how they disappear in seconds! Whether for a full buffet of Atayef, or for a selection you will find all your Atayef dreams on this link :)

Just as Atayef are synonymous with Ramadan, so are dates! I have posted a whole post on filled, chocolate dipped and rolled dates. You can choose one or a selection of these dates and add them to your buffet. They will add colour, and total sweetness to your selection of desserts.


Hareeseh is another classic Arabic dessert that everyone loves. Cut into small squares, looking like Mini Cake bites, there is no limit to how you can present these sweetness drenched little bites of goodness. Everyone loves Hareeseh, and this is a recipe that your guests will hound you for! Don't forget to tell them about this blog ;)

Lomet il Adi, otherwise known as Awwameh

Lomet il Adi is also a sugar syrup drenched bite of Arabic dessert heaven. These just pop in your mouth, oozing the sugar syrup and offering a chew that is music to your palate. This is a very famous Arabic dessert, and a best loved classic. The round shape of this dessert is super cute and easy to present. Think a Lomet il Adi tower. Kind of like a Profiterole Tower, except with this succulent dessert!! Here is the link for the recipe.

You can also include: Ramadan Flavoured Fruit Salad,  Arabic Flavoured Baked Cheese Cake, Pistachio Cake with Rosewater Cream, Date Muffins, Coconut Cream Cheese Puffs... These are not traditional Arabic Recipes, these are international desserts which I have flavoured with Arabic dessert flavourings, and love to serve during Ramadan. They offer something new to the buffet, different from the classic options. It is always nice to serve something old and something new. With that said, you can always choose a selection of Arabic, international and any kind of dessert you like to serve.

Use a variety of serveware to make your buffet interesting

Dessert Buffet Tips

  • Use different height platters to create a visual flow on your buffet. Nothing is more dull than a horizontal, same-level buffet! Cake stands, tiered platters and serving tiles are excellent for creating different height levels. Tavola have a beautiful selection of platters to choose from. I personally buy mine from there.
  • Use different serveware to present your desserts. Go for ramekins, mini dessert cups, bowls, and even edible serveware such as chocolate cups, tuile buscuit cones...etc All of these options add colour and style to your presentation.
  • Serve some desserts whole, and others in bite size. The different shapes and sizes make your buffet more interesting. It is best to make more bite size pieces than whole desserts as this allows guests to try a bit of everything.
  • Go for a vriety of flavours, not everyone likes ginger and not every one likes chocolate either! A varried buffet is always best as it has something for everyone.
  • Make designs out of the food itself. Like a Lomet il Adi Tower, or a block of mini cake bites, or a pyramid of hareeseh pieces...etc. This will make your buffet visually interesting and will reduce the amount of platters needed for serving the desserts

Platter of Assorted Dates

These desserts are just a sample of what you can prepare. There are many fabulous desserts, and many ways to present each one. I hope that today's post will inspire you to go for a full dessert menu and to carry it out with massive style. I can't wait to see photos of your desserts buffets, so make sure to use the recipes and take lots of photos to show me. Sharing photos of foods you prepared from this blog will allow you to enter the draw for the fabulous giveaways sponsored by Tavola, Kenwood, CitrussTV and Dima Sharif Blog. So make sure to join in the fun, go ahead and send those photos.

Come back again tomorrow for more of Dima's Kitchen Ramadan Special. And do let me know what you think before you leave :)

Remember to be sweet this Ramadan, we all have a sweet tooth in us ;)
Ramadan Kareem