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Prepare to tantalize your taste buds with the exquisite flavors of Lebanon through a delightful dessert known as Halawet el Jibn. These delicate cheese rolls are a beloved treat in Lebanese cuisine, combining the richness of cheese, the sweetness of sugar syrup, and the fragrant essence of orange blossom water. In this article, we'll guide you through crafting these delectable confections in your own kitchen.
What Is Halawet el Jibn?
Halawet el Jibn, often pronounced as "halaweit el jebn," translates to "the sweetness of cheese." These elegant dessert rolls are made from a mixture of fresh cheese and semolina, creating a unique balance of creamy and grainy textures. They are then filled with sweet cream, rolled into cylinders, and drizzled with fragrant sugar syrup—a true masterpiece of Lebanese sweets.
For the Dough:
1 cup fine semolina
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese or unsalted Akkawi cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon orange blossom water
1/4 cup milk
For the Sweet Cream Filling:
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon rosewater (optional)
1 teaspoon orange blossom water (optional)
For the Sugar Syrup:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon orange blossom water
1. Prepare the Dough:
In a mixing bowl, combine the semolina, fresh cheese, sugar, and orange blossom water. Gradually add milk while kneading until the dough comes together. It should be soft and pliable but not sticky. Divide the dough into small portions and shape them into balls. Cover them with a damp cloth to prevent drying while you work on the filling.
2. Prepare the Sweet Cream Filling:
In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until it forms soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar and continue whipping until it's well incorporated and the cream is thick. Add rosewater and orange blossom water if desired, then gently fold them into the cream.
3. Assemble the Rolls:
Take one portion of the dough and flatten it into a small disc. Place a teaspoon of the sweet cream filling in the center. Fold the dough over the filling to form a cylinder or roll, sealing the edges. Repeat this process with the remaining dough and filling.
4. Make the Sugar Syrup:
In a saucepan, combine sugar and water. Heat over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add lemon juice to prevent crystallization. Allow the syrup to simmer for about 10-15 minutes until it thickens slightly. Stir in the orange blossom water, then remove it from the heat and let it cool.
5. Drizzle with Sugar Syrup:
Arrange the prepared Halawet el Jibn on a serving platter. Generously drizzle the cooled sugar syrup over the rolls, ensuring they are well coated.
6. Serve and Enjoy:
Halawet el Jibn is traditionally served cold, making it a perfect dessert for warm days. Garnish with crushed pistachios or a dusting of ground cinnamon for an extra touch of flavor and elegance.
Experience Lebanese Delight:
Halawet el Jibn is more than just a dessert; it's a celebration of Lebanese culture and flavors. By mastering this recipe, you not only get to enjoy the sweet and creamy delight but also share in the rich heritage of Lebanese cuisine. These cheese dessert rolls are perfect for special occasions or simply indulging in a taste of Lebanon anytime you like.