Aish El Saray – Arabic Dessert

A very tasty Arabic (commonly linked to Lebanon and Egypt) dessert, this is almost a no fail for anyone who wants to try something unique and exotic tasting without actually doing a lot of work.  It satisfies a lot of different palettes and is an easy win if you’re hosting or for pot luck.  The name is two parts – Aish is another word used for bread in some Arabic countries (i.e. Egypt, the Gulf) and Saray (originally “Palace” in Persian) was borrowed to literally mean Palace Bread (or Luxury bread pudding).  But who really cares, it tastes good and easy to make.

Time:

About 40 minutes

Serves:

10+ (it varies since usually people eat different amounts)

Good for:

  • Quick make.
  • Exotic flavour – ethnic

Ingredients:

  • ½ bag of sliced bread (white or brown but not multi-grain)
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • ¼ cups rose water
  • 2 cans of cream (Nestle Cream from ethnic grocery stores)
  • Chopped pistachios to garnish

Kitchen things you’ll need:

  • Serrated knife to cut brat crusts off
  • Toaster
  • Small pot
  • Large Bowl
  • Medium saucepan
  • Shallow platter

Making it:

  • Cute the crusts and toast the sliced bread until golden brown (you don’t want to over toast them).
  • As you toast them cut them in pieces by hand (into quarters for each slice) into the large bowl.
  • In the saucepan dilute the sugar into the water until just boiling.
  • In parallel burn a tablespoon of sugar into a small pot just for it to caramelise and add it to the water and sugar mixture.
  • After the caramelised sugar is mixed into the water mixture and it has a darker colour, add the rose water and mix well for about 30 seconds.
  • Pour the hot mixture on the bread pieces in the bowl, let it site for 10 seconds then start to mix gently (not too much you still want some bread chunks).
  • Let it cool a bit then place on a flat platter, if the mixture has a lot of liquid pour it out, I suggest using a fine colander to get rid of the excess syrup.  You don’t want it dry but you don’t want it runny either.
  • At room temperature spread the cream on top and then garnish with pistachios.
  • Cool it in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.

Tips/notes:

  • If you use brown bread it’ll have a slightly nuttier taste which is great.
  • If you dump some of the syrup and after it sits in the fridge you still see it looking a bit runny, feel free to scoop out the excess syrup with a spoon.
  • The leftover crusts can be saved for birds or toasted with sugar and cinnamon for kids treats (even if they’re stale).

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