A sticky and sweet dessert from Lebanon, these decadent cakes made of coarse semolina are so simple to make that you can easily end up with more than enough to tide you through waves after waves of Eid visitors. By soaking the cakes in sugar syrup then topping them off with almonds or shaved coconut, you’ll be sure to get cakes that are not only rich but moist and full of texture as well! These desserts are delicious both warm or cold so you can make them ahead of time and serve once your guests arrive.
Dimple your plain butter cookies with a squeeze of sticky jam. Eat them anytime you want a snack, or in our case, for a lovely treat at Iftar. The steps? Well if you’ve ever baked a cookie, it’s easy enough to do, with all basic cookie steps first, then a squeeze of sweet jam last. Of course, you can use peanut butter, chocolate, caramel or any type of sweet creamy spread that makes you happy. Make more and toast it in the oven for a warm jammy snack after a long day.
There’s chocolate truffle… and then there’s this Lebanese specialty. These luscious balls are made from a combination of Knefeh Mafroikeh, butter and pistachio before they are filled with ashta - clotted cream prepared usually with rose water and orange blossom water. The creaminess of ashta helps cut through the nutty taste of pistachios. If you’re a fan of pistachios, this dessert is definitely one for you.
A favourite during celebrations, Kueh Bahulu is a dainty and fluffy dessert that has its place on the table of those celebrating Eid. The Kueh Bahulu is traditionally baked using brass molds but if you don’t have one in hand, a madeleine tray or a muffin tray lined with cupcake paper liners works just as well. With egg and sugar as its main ingredient, the kueh bahulu is sometimes known as an egg sponge cake but don’t be fooled - they’re drier and crispier than a typical sponge cake. It’s the dry nature of the kueh bahulu that makes it the perfect treat to dunk into a cup of tea or coffee!
With a name that means ‘Lebanese Nights’ in Arabic, you can be certain that Layali Lebnen was created to cool you down during hot sweltering days. With a base made from semolina flour, this creamy and delicate dessert is super easy to make, packed with the floral citrus fragrance of both orange blossom and rose water. Make this dessert a few days before and refrigerate before serving. When it’s time to serve, top the Layali Lebnen off with chopped nuts and sugar syrup- you’re good to go!
A popular Nonya dessert in Singapore and Malaysia, Kueh Dadar is also a common sight in Malay households celebrating Eid. To put it simply, Kueh Dadar is a sweet crepe that has been flavoured and coloured with pandan juice before it is filled with grated coconut steeped in gula melaka. While food colouring is a convenient way of giving the kueh its signature green hue, the end result will lack the taste and fragrance that only pandan leaves can provide. A note of caution: These pillowy rolls can be addictive so make sure that you make enough for you and your guests.
How do you make a dessert even better? A dessert that has cheese in it, of course! Said to have originated in Syria, Halawet el Jeben is a dessert that is both sweet and creamy. The outer layer is made of sweetened Akawi cheese and semolina that is rolled into fine sheets before being wrapped around fluffy and decadent clotted cream (ashta). Seal the deal and serve with a sprinkle of pistachio as a crunchy garnish and sugar syrup on the side. The velvety Halawet el Jeben is seriously addictive, so make sure you have some stomach space for more than one.
Originating from Malaysia, Kuih Keria are deep-fried doughnuts made from a relatively affordable ingredient - sweet potatoes! These healthier (well, almost, since they’re made mostly from sweet potatoes rather than flour and sugar) alternative to doughnuts are crispy on the outside and dense on the inside due to the unleavened nature of the dough. Once fried, prepare the sugar glaze and dip the sweet potato doughnuts in it, making sure that all sides are covered. The sugar will then crystalise, giving the Kuih Keria its signature sugary and flaky crust. Top tip: Give your Kuih Keria an added pop of colour by using the purple Japanese sweet potato instead.
Maamoul is Lebanon’s answer to shortbread cookies and is usually found on the tables of Middle Eastern families during celebratory events like Eid. These buttery semolina cookies are usually stuffed with dates but you can use fig jam, walnuts, almonds or pistachios as well. Traditionally, they are made using special wooden Maamoul molds - if you don’t have any molds on hand, just form the dough and decorate with a fork. Or, you can even try molding them by hand and make different shapes. Make ahead of time serve them with a side of tea.
Impress your guests during Eid with these rich and buttery cookies that are almost too pretty to eat! Popular in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and even Singapore, this is the Southeast Asian answer to the Scottish Shortbread. The word ‘semperit’ is Indonesian for ‘to pipe’ which is exactly what you’ll be doing with the butter cookie dough. The dough is coloured and piped to form swirls and even beautiful flowers before being decorated with pearl drops and baked. Don’t have pearl drops on hand? You can instead decorate these melt-in-your-mouth cookies with chocolate chips or a piece of sweetened cherry. These colourful cookies are definitely made for Eid.