If you love an easy dessert that requires minimal prep time and no baking then you need to try Layali Lubnan! It is a semolina pudding that translates to Lebanese nights. It is very popular in Lebanon hence the name but also throughout the Middle East. There are two main layers to Layali Lubnan. The first is the semolina pudding which is then topped with a layer of ashta (clotted cream). This dessert is then topped with an abundance of chopped pistachios for needed crunch and color. Lastly, once completely chilled and ready to be served; it is doused in simple syrup which is where the sweetness comes from in this dessert.
So, as you can see there are just a few steps and an easy one is quite easy making this a super convenient dessert especially during Ramadan. It can be made ahead of time which is super convenient and enjoyed for days to come as it stores in the fridge. Most of the ingredients for this semolina pudding can be found in an Arab pantry and if not/ in any Middle Eastern grocery store or local supermarkets.
What is distinctive about Layali Lubnan to me is the orange blossom water that permeates through the pudding. However, some people do not enjoy the flavor profile of orange blossom so I leave that optional. I, however, always add it as you can adjust the amount you would like! The dessert itself does not have much sugar at all which makes me a bit healthier than most as you regulate how much sweetness to add. The simple syrup is what truly makes this treat sweet and everyone’s preference for sweetness is different. The syrup keeps well in a jar in the fridge for future uses for a few months.
Other desserts similar to Layali Lubnan:
Layali Lubnan (Semolina Milk Pudding)
Semolina Pudding Layer
- 1 cup Fine Semolina
- 5 cups Milk
- 2 tbsp Sugar
- 1/4 tsp Ground Mastic optional but recommended
- 1 tsp Orange Blossom Water optional but recommedned.
- 1/2 cup Milk
- 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1 tbsp All-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp Corn Starch
- 2 tbsp Sugar
- 3/4 cup Crushed Pistachios
- 2 cups Sugar
- 1 cup Water
- 1 tsp Orange Blossom Water adjust to your preference
- Mix together all the ashta ingredients in a pot with a whisk without any heat at first until there are no lumps. Then, bring to medium-high heat and keep whisking until it starts to thicken which should take about 5 minutes. It should look creamy and pourable. If you like, add a drizzle of orange blossom water at this point and stir.
- Remove ashta from pot and place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to avoid the ashta developing a skin layer on top. Let it cool to the side while working on the semolina pudding.
- Add all the semolina pudding ingredients but the orange blossom water in a pot and stir together on medium-high heat until it thickens to a nice consistency that is pourable which can take about 10 minutes or so. Add the orange blossom water last and stir.
- Pour the semolina pudding into a 9 by 11 pan and spread it out evenly. Let it cool for 10 minutes. Then, layer the ashta on top and spread that out.
- Top with the crushed pistachios all over the top. Add more if necessary.
- Cover and let this cool in the fridge for 2 hours. Make the syrup in the meantime by mixing together the sugar and water. Let it come to a simmer for about 5-10 minutes until it slightly thickens. Add a hint of orange blossom water if you like and stir. Then drizzle all over the dessert as much as you like or drizzle to each person's slice. This is up to you.
- This dessert needs a simple syrup as it is not sweetened at all without the syrup. So be sure to serve with it drizzled with syrup! Store extra syrup in a jar and keep in the fridge.