Muhallabia Amardeen Pudding | Milk and Apricot Fruit Leather Pudding

Muhallabia Amardeen Pudding is a Middle Eastern dessert with a layer of milk pudding and dried apricot pudding. Thickened with cornflour, flavoured with rose or orange blossom water, chilled and served with a garnish of nuts. Go extra with some sweetened butter-toasted kunafe! 
Milk and Apricot Fruit Leather Pudding
Originally published on 12th June 2016. Updated the content and images on 2nd June 2021. 
The two most popular flavours of the Middle East in one serving...Muhallabia and Qamar al-din which is also known as Amardeen or dried apricot paste. Just to add a crunch factor, I garnished with some butter-toasted sweetened kunafe and pistachios. In this post, I am sharing two recipes that will be prepared separately. You may make both and serve layered or separate or just make one of them if you don't like milk. and unlike baking, you don't need to stick to the measurements... make more milk and less apricot or vice versa! 

Muhallabia Amardeen Pudding | Milk and Apricot Fruit Leather Pudding

What is Muhallabia?

If you love easy-to-make desserts, then you should learn how to make Muhallabia, a Middle Eastern milk pudding made using very few ingredients. The origin of this dish seems to be widely claimed as Persian but that is a legend and so it is fair to attribute this to the entire Arab world. But as an Indian, I know Muhallabia is similar to Phirni but that too has Persian history via Mughals! Every reason to love Persian cuisine! So, Muhallabia or Mahalabia or Mahlebieh or Mhallabiyyeh is an amazingly smooth Arabic dessert similar to Italian pannacotta but without the gelatin! Mahalabia is made with milk, sugar, thickened with cornflour or rice flour and flavoured with rose water or orange blossom water or cardamom or good old vanilla. Served chilled with a garnish of nuts. Simple.

What is Amardeen Pudding?

Amardeen or Qamar al-Din is a Middle Eastern apricot fruit leather or fruit roll-ups used to make the tart, sweet and refreshing drink during Ramadan. The soaked dried apricot paste is warmed and thickened with cornflour and flavoured with rose or orange blossom water. Chilled to set before serving. This can be served as is or you may make a layer of milk pudding, like in this recipe post! 

Corn flour vs Cornflour vs Cornstarch

Honestly, I had no idea cornstarch and cornflour are two different items until I read this article recently when there was a huge debate on it over social media. For this recipe and for any thickening pudding recipe in this blog, I have used Foster Clark's Corn Flour and the ingredients listed on the can is "Maize Starch". Stating this so there is no confusion about what to use. Cornstarch and cornflour are the same but corn flour is different and is what I understood from the short research I did while writing this post. 

Milk and Apricot Fruit Leather Pudding served in three different sized serving bowls garnished with kunafe and pistachios

Ingredients for Milk and Apricot Pudding

  • full-fat milk: you may use any kind of non-dairy milk too. You may also use cream, evaporated milk, condensed milk etc but adjust the sugar. 
  • sugar: use as per taste.
  • cornflour: I have used cornflour because I wanted the apricot flavour to be rich. You may use rice flour instead of cornflour. If using rice flour, then double the quantity of cornflour. For example, for every 1 tablespoon of cornflour, you will have to use 2 tablespoons of rice flour. 
  • Flavouring: traditionally orange blossom water or rose water is used but you may use cardamom or even just vanilla! 
  • Dried apricot paste apricot fruit leather: If you don't find apricot fruit leather, you can soak the dried apricot and make a paste, like in qubbani ka meetha recipe. I have never tried this way. 
  • water: to soak the fruit leather aka fruit roll-ups
  • kunafa dough or thin vermicelli: this is optional
  • butter: to toast the kunafe or vermicelli. 
  • Pistachios or pine nuts: or any chopped nuts to garnish
collage pic of Apricot Fruit Leather torn and soaked in water and stirred


Milk and Apricot Fruit Leather Pudding

How to make Muhallabia Amardeen Pudding?

You can make it in any order. Making amardeen pudding will take longer as it needs to be soaked for several hours whereas Muhallabia takes just a few minutes. Whatever order you make, make sure to pour the second layer only after the first layer is fully set. Chill for several hours before serving. The sweetened toasted kunafe or vermicelli can be made while the pudding is chilling. Make sure it is cooled before you garnish the pudding with it. 

Milk and Apricot Fruit Leather Pudding served in three different sized serving bowls garnished with kunafe and pistachios

Muhallabia Amardeen Pudding | Milk and Apricot Fruit Leather Pudding

INGREDIENTS 

FOR MUHALLABIA (Milk Pudding)

  • 1 cups full-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour or 4 tbsp rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon orange blossom water
  • 1 teaspoon rose water

FOR AMARDEEN PUDDING (Dried Apricot Sheet Pudding)

  • 150gms apricot fruit leather (approx 1/3 of the pack)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour or 4 tbsp rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon of orange blossom water
  • 1 teaspoon of rose water
For garnish
  • 30gms kunafa dough or thin vermicelli
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped nuts (Pistachios or pine nuts)

METHOD

How to make Muhallabia

  1. Use some of the full-fat milk to dissolve the cornflour without any lumps. 
  2. Heat the remaining milk and the sugar in a saucepan on low to medium flame whisking all the time until the milk starts to steam.
  3. Stir in the cornflour mixture and whisk continuously till the milk bubbles and thickens. May take anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes. 
  4. Add the orange blossom water and rose water and whisk a few more times. 
  5. Switch off and pour into a serving bowl or into each serving container just till half the height. Let it cool at room temperature and then cling wrap and refrigerate.

How to make Qamar al-din pudding 

  1. Tear the dried apricot leather into smaller pieces and soak them in warm water for 4 to 6 hours. Don't drain or discard any soaked water. If possible, stir the mixture in between the soaking time.
  2. Blend the soaked apricot with all of the water until no large lumps. You may sieve for a smooth finish but I like to keep the bits.
  3. Reserve 1/4 cup of the juice and Pour the remaining into a saucepan and place on medium flame. Add sugar and stir to dissolve.
  4. Meanwhile, dissolve the cornflour in the reserved juice and add to the now warm apricot mixture which has started to steam. Whisk continuously and bring the mixture to a rolling boil and continue to whisk until the mixture thickens. May take anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes. Switch off and pour the mixture into serving bowls. You will pour over the chilled muhallabia if you prepared that first. Refrigerate until needed.

Prepare the sweetened vermicelli or kunafe for garnish

  1. Heat the butter and sugar in a shallow pan. Stir in the kunafa dough or vermicelli and roast on low to medium flame until evenly browned.
  2. Transfer the contents into a bowl and let it cool before you can use it.
  3. Toast the chopped nuts in the residue heat of the same pan.
  4. Garnish the chilled milk and apricot pudding with a medley of nuts and sweetened vermicelli or kunafe dough (optional but recommended). Serve chilled.
Notes: You can double the recipe or increase more milk pudding and less apricot pudding or vice versa. Do with what you have and how you like and use the recipe as a guide. If your mixture is not thickening even after 5 mins of whisking, then you can always quickly add some more dissolved cornflour while whisking. Never add cornflour directly into the hot mixture, it will become lumps that you cannot get rid of. Use room temp cold water to dissolve the cornflour.
Milk and Apricot Fruit Leather Pudding served in three different sized serving bowls

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