This delicate rose pudding is an irresistibly creamy dessert with wonderful floral and nutty notes. We made it vegan and sugar-free to give you a healthier version of the classic Middle Eastern muhallebi. It's perfect to prepare ahead of time and serve at a fancy dinner — your guests will love it!
All you have to do for this recipe is prepare a custard with almond milk and rose water, pour it into serving glasses and let it cool down in the fridge. When you're ready to serve the puddings, sprinkle them with cinnamon, pistachios, and rose petals. You'll have a gorgeous yet light dessert bursting with flavours from the Middle East.
Classic muhallebi, also known as Mahalabia (مهلبية) in Arabic, is a milk pudding sweetened with sugar and thickened with starch or rice flour. It's a popular dessert in the Middle East, thought to be named after the Persian cook who invented it. Muhallebi is similar to the French blancmange, but it's flavoured with either orange blossom or rose water and garnished with local nuts like almonds or pistachios.
To make our recipe vegan and sugar-free, we swapped cow's milk with almond milk and refined white sugar with powdered erythritol. Almond milk is a great dairy substitute in vegan desserts, low in fats and calories. It also gives a lovely nutty flavour to the pudding, which perfectly fits the Middle Eastern notes of this recipe. Erythritol is a safe, diabetic-friendly sweetener that tastes almost as sweet as sugar but has zero sugars.
Rose water is what makes these puddings really stand out from other custard recipes. Just a few teaspoons are enough to infuse the muhallebi with delicate floral notes — we love it! If you can get hold of dried rose petals for garnishing, they'll make the pudding even more flavourful and super pretty!
A serving of these rose puddings has less than 150 calories, only 4% RDI of carbs, and zero sugars. This means you can round off a Middle Eastern-themed dinner with a light dessert that won't derail your diet.
|Starch (potato, corn, or arrowroot)||60 g|
|Almond Milk||1 L|
|Powdered Erythritol (or icing sugar)||40 g|
|Rose Water||3 tsp|
|Ground Cinnamon||1/2 tsp|
|Ground Cardamom||2 pinch|
|Dried Rose Petals||4 tsp|
You can make powdered erythritol by blitzing erythritol granules in a blender until finely ground.
With the heat turned off, add sifted starch to a pot and pour in a little bit of almond milk.
Whisk well to dissolve the starch and then pour in the remaining milk, followed by erythritol and rose water.
Mix well and turn on the heat to medium.
Bring the milk to a gentle boil while always stirring with a whisk; this prevents the starch from sedimenting at the bottom of the pot and forming lumps.
As soon as you see the first bubbles, start whisking more vigorously and keep at it for about 1 minute or until the milk mixture thickens into a custard.
Don't worry if the pudding is not too dense; it will thicken even more as it cools down.
Now, divide the rose pudding among serving moulds, tins, or glasses.
Allow to cool down at room temperature for 15 minutes, and then transfer the puddings to the fridge.
Let them set and cool down completely in the fridge for 1 hour.
The puddings are ready when they feel bouncy and wobbly when poked.
Serve your vegan muhallebi cold, sprinkled with ground cinnamon, cardamom, finely chopped pistachios, and rose petals.
You can create beautifully marbled puddings by alternating spoonfuls of rose custard with cherry or plum jam; swirl all with a skewer or knife, and then chill the puddings in the fridge.