Mafroukeh is one of those simple, no-bake desserts that you can whip up when you’re in a hurry but still want to make something impressive. The combination of the thick, homemade cream with the unique texture of the semolina-pistachio base is to die for when it’s all topped off with orange blossom water-infused sugar syrup. And guess what? It's all done on the stove and takes about 20 minutes to put together.
What I Love About This Recipe
Mafroukeh is so versatile, you can make it in a round pan, a square pan, or even in individual cups. It might be simple, but you'll definitely be adding it to your list of favorites.
- Pistachios: You'll need shelled raw pistachios for this recipe. Some people like to peel them, which you can do by soaking them in hot water for a few minutes then rubbing off the skin. But I find that it doesn't really make a difference if you peel them or not.
- Semolina: Use coarse semolina. Fine semolina absorbs liquid differently so you won't get the right texture, and you'll end up with a soupy mess.
- Sugar: Use regular white sugar.
- Ghee or Butter: I personally like the flavor ghee gives this dessert, but butter works perfectly fine.
- Milk: For the homemade ashta (cream). You can use any milk you like (skimmed, whole, half and half, etc.)
- Whipping Cream: The secret to making the perfect creamy ashta.
- Flour: You'll only need a couple of tablespoons of all-purpose flour which is what will thicken the ashta.
- Cornstarch: Also to thicken the creamy ashta.
- Orange Blossom Water: A tablespoon goes a long way, but you'll be adding some to your ashta as well as your simple syrup to make the perfect flower-infused mafroukeh.
- Lemon Juice: My aunt taught me to add a tiny bit of lemon juice to my simple syrup to intensify its flavors and thicken it up faster.
How To Make Mafroukeh
Start by making the simple syrup: dissolve the sugar and water in a saucepan on the stove. Bring to a boil and add the lemon juice, stirring until it thickens, then add in the orange blossom water and set aside to cool.
Make the Homemade Cream (Ashta)
Mix the flour, milk, and cornstarch in a medium-sized pot. Make sure they dissolve. On medium-high heat, start whisking the mixture until it starts bubbling. Keep whisking continuously until it starts to thicken.
Once it thickens, take it off the heat, and add the orange blossom water, mix and transfer to a bowl immediately. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap touches the surface of the cream (so it doesn't form a film on the surface as it cools).
Make The Semolina Pistachio Base
Start by grinding the sugar and pistachios in your food processor and set them aside.
Melt the ghee in a pan on the stove and fry the semolina in it until golden, then add the water and mix consistently until it thickens significantly.
Let it cool for a couple of minutes, then place the semolina mixture into the food processor with the pistachios and pulse until fully incorporated.
Press the semolina dough into a 9-inch springform pan, then top with your cooled ashta and garnish with chopped pistachios.
Let it set in the fridge for a few hours. Pour some simple syrup on top as desired when ready to serve.
Tips and Tricks
- Don't over-process your pistachios. Over-processing your pistachios can turn them into pistachio butter, so only blend them up until they're a powder-like texture.
- Make the simple syrup first, then the cream.
- Toast the semolina until golden. Some people like to just slightly heat up the semolina before adding water, but I personally like to toast it until golden. Toasted semolina really adds a special flavor that you're going to love.
- Let the mafroukeh set. I know it can be tempting to slice right into it, but you really want to let the mafroukeh set in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably more. This way you'll really be able to cut it into clean slices.
- Get creative with the presentation. I usually like to serve it in a springform pan (so you can see all the layers) and sprinkle the top with chopped pistachios. You can serve it in cupcake molds, in a square pan, cut into squares, etc. You can also top it with mixed nuts, dried rose petals, or chopped dried fruit.
Made from a hard type of wheat called durum wheat, semolina is basically just a coarser flour. It’s usually used in pasta, bread, as well as baked goods, but it’s super well known for being used in semolina porridge. This is because it absorbs liquid really well. You'll usually find it at your local supermarket in the flour section.
In Syria and the rest of the Middle East, Semolina is very commonly used in numerous desserts and baked goods like basbousa and mamouniyeh and is what gives them their distinct grainy texture. Additionally, it’s commonly served in savory dishes as couscous in the place of rice.
Middle Eastern Desserts
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Mafroukeh - Pistachio Dessert With Cream
For the simple syrup:
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ⅔ cup water
- 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
For the semolina dough:
- ½ cup shelled raw pistachios
- ½ cup coarse semolina
- 2 tablespoon ghee or butter
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 cup water
For the ashta:
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
Make the Simple Syrup
- Dissolve the sugar and water in a saucepan on the stove. Bring to a boil and add the lemon juice, stirring until it thickens, then add in the orange blossom water and set aside to cool.
Make the Ashta
- Whisk together all the ingredients in a small pot (except the orange blossom water) until the dry ingredients have dissolved.
- Set the mixture on medium-high heat on the stove and whisk consistently until it starts to boil, and keep whisking until it starts to thicken. As soon as it starts to get very thick, add the orange blossom water, give it a mix, and transfer to a bowl to cool. Cover with plastic wrap.
Make the Semolina Base
- Start by grinding the sugar and pistachios in your food processor and set aside.
- Melt the ghee in a pan on the stove and fry the semolina in it until golden, then add the water and mix consistently until it thickens significantly.
- Let it cool for a couple of minutes, then place the semolina mixture into the food processor with the pistachios and pulse until fully incorporated.
- Press the semolina dough into a 9-inch springform pan, then top with your cooled ashta and garnish. Let it set in the fridge for a few hours.
- Pour some simple syrup on top as desired when ready to serve.
- You can use store-bought ashta if you wish (you'll find it at most Middle Eastern pastry shops)
- You can skip the syrup. I like to serve it on the side so each person can control how sweet they want their portion to be.
I have been searching for this recipe for a long time so glad I found it.
I will make it this week end for my husband birthday. Just wondering can this be made ahead? Like a day or 2 before.
Please let me know
Hi Annie! Good question. You can make this dessert ahead of time; just don't add the simple syrup (that's drizzled on top) until ready to serve.
Thank you for posting, I’m really looking forward to trying it! At the top you mention that both powder and regular white sugar are needed but I think I missed where the powder sugar is used. Thanks Pat
Hey Pat! Great catch, actually just use regular sugar for both places: the simple syrup and the pistachio semolina crust. I’m correcting the recipe now!
Love your recipes! I noticed it says to prepare the syrup before starting the dough, because you will need the syrup for the dough. That being said, I did not see any instruction for how to incorporate the syrup into the dough. Lmk if I’m missing something, thank you! 🧿💕
Thank you for the comment, and great question! The simple syrup is just used to top the Mafroukeh once the dessert is served and has firmed up in the fridge.
The homemade ashta was delicious with the semolina pistachio crust. So quick too.
Glad you liked the recipe!