Really really love this dessert

Today’s recipe is one I really really love!

This is the recipe of Halawet il Jiben حلاوة الجبن, an Arabic dessert made out of cheese, which is essentially savoury. The cheese, therefore, is sweetened by elongated soaking in fresh water, then mixed with semolina to turn it into a dough. This dough is very soft in texture, pillowy if I may use the expression, and really a pleasure to bite into. It is then filled with the soft, creamy fresh Ashta قشطة (Arabic style clotted cream) and rolled to seal the filling. As with all amazing Arabic sweets, this one is drenched with sugar syrup and hence absolutely amazingly sweet.

The rolls can be made in the size you desire (larger ones or small dainty ones depending how you want to serve the dessert). Also the rolls can be open on the sides or tucked in as a spring roll. Really you decide how you want them to look.


  • 225 g Akawi Cheese (found in most supermarkets or specialty Middle Eastern stores)
  • 1/2 cup fine semolina
  • 1/2 cup Farina (milled wheat/ wheat meal)
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water
  • 1 recipe DS Supreme Qater (Sugar Syrup recipe on this link)
  • 2 cups fresh Ashta (Arabic clotted cream for the filling)
  • ¼ cup roughly ground or sliced pistachios for garnish
  • 2 tbsp rose petal jam for garnish (optional)

Sweeten the cheese a day in advance. this is done by cutting the cheese into medium cubes and soaking the cubes in water overnight.

Make Qater (sugar syrup) following the recipe on the link above, and set aside.

Coat the base and sides of a standard size jelly roll sheet with 1/2 cup of the Qater and set aside.

Toast the semolina in the butter for 1 minute, add the farina and stir for 3 minutes. Add 1 cup Qater and orange blossom water then mix well. Cook for 3 minutes stirring.

Add the cheese and cook stirring vigorously until the cheese is completely melted and all is incorporated. Remove from the heat and pour the cheese mixture on the Qater coated jelly roll baking sheet and spread, using a large offset spatula or the back of a wooden spoon, to cover the whole sheet. Leave to cool for 15 minutes.

Using a knife slice the cooled cheese lengthwise and in the widthwise to create 12 equal pieces. Place 2-3 tbsp Ashta on each slice and roll tightly. Transfer to the serving dish, placing the seam downwards. Repeat until all have been filled and rolled.

Sprinkle the tops with pistachio and add a few rose jam petals. Drizzle with Qater and serve cold with tea.


for a twist on this classsic dessert, fill the cheese dough with ice cream instead of Ashta (try mastic flavoured ice cream) and freeze slightly for a dessert very similar to the Japanese Mochi! Super cool 😉

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