This sweet treat combines three of my favorite pastry ingredients: phyllo dough, Lebanese cream, called ashta, and orange blossom water, called mazaher.
Read my Summer 2017 Issue:
There’s something so special to me about serving my guests their own personal pastry made just for them to delight in after a delicious meal. It’s simple to make your own phyllo pastry dough cups right at home, and you can’t beat the freshly baked taste of this flaky dough layered between the pure taste of clarified butter—I call it “liquid gold.” My some-kind-of-wonderful phyllo dough dessert cups are filled with luxurious Lebanese semolina cream, then topped with fresh seasonal blackberries and red raspberries, and finally drizzled with orange blossom syrup, making for the perfect sweet-treat to indulge in during the summertime season.
6 sheets Athens Fillo Dough
(9 inches x 14 inches), thawed in the box to room temperature for about 1 hour
1⁄3 cup clarified butter
½ cup fresh blackberries
½ cup fresh red raspberries
LEBANESE SEMOLINA CREAM:
1 quart heavy cream or half and half
1 cup #1 fine semolina grain (not to be confused with semolina flour)
3 tablespoons white granulated sugar
ORANGE BLOSSOM SYRUP:
3 cups white granulated sugar
1 to 1½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (½ lemon)
1½ cups cold water
1 tablespoon orange blossom water (mazaher)
- Make the phyllo dough cups: Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Remove 6 sheets of the phyllo dough from the plastic wrapping and box, and unroll the sheets onto a smooth, dry, and clean surface, keeping the plastic wrapping underneath. Rewrap the rest and refrigerate for future use.
- Dip the pastry brush in the clarified butter, and lightly grease the bottom and side walls of a standard 6-cup cupcake pan or muffin tin.
- Take a piece of phyllo dough, working with one sheet at a time, and lay it in front of you. Generously brush the entire phyllo sheet with clarified butter, and layer the next sheet of dough directly on top. Lightly smooth the phyllo sheet with the palms of your hands.
- Brush the entire sheet with clarified butter, and repeat with 4 more phyllo sheets, placing each on top, then buttering from the edges of the sheet and working your way to the center, to cover the entire bottom surface of the sheet.
- Using the rim of a small bowl or glass, cut out 6 small rounds, approximately 3 inches in diameter, by cutting around the bowl or glass using a sharp paring knife.
- Place each round into the center of each buttered cup in the pan, gently pressing down in the center of the dough with your fingertips, and form the dough inside each cup.
- Lightly brush the bottom and side walls of the phyllo dough cup with clarified butter, and place in the center rack of the preheated oven to bake for approximately 12–15 minutes until the pastry is light golden brown.
- Immediately remove from the oven and allow the phyllo dough cups to completely cool and set shape before removing from the pan.
- Make the Lebanese semolina cream: In a medium pot over medium-high heat, combine the heavy cream, semolina, and granulated sugar, and whisk together so the semolina dissolves into the cream.
- Continuously stir until the mixture begins to thicken and bubble, about 12–15 minutes, making sure the mixture does not stick or burn at the bottom of the pot.
- Once the mixture comes to a boil and has turned into a creamy consistency, immediately turn off the heat, cover with lid, and set aside.
- Make the orange blossom syrup: Combine the sugar, lemon juice, and water in a medium pot over medium-high heat.
- Bring to a boil, uncovered, then immediately reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15–20 minutes until the syrup begins to thicken. Keep a close eye on the syrup, and make sure it remains clear in color and does not begin to brown or turn yellow.
- To test the thickness of the syrup, dip a wooden spoon into the pot; the syrup should visibly coat the spoon. Let the syrup cool slightly on the spoon, then, using your index finger, swipe the syrup and squeeze it between your thumb and finger. It should feel sticky and thick, and once you release your finger and thumb, there should be a thin, stringy line of syrup between your two fingers.
- Turn off the heat and allow the syrup to cool slightly but remain warm, 5–7 minutes.
- Once the syrup has cooled, gently stir in the orange blossom water, then taste it; there should be a faint essence of the orange-blossom-flavored water.
- Cover the pot and set aside at room temperature until ready to use. Don’t let it cool completely!
- Fill each phyllo dough pastry cup with the warm semolina cream, and set in a small dessert plate or bowl.
- Top with fresh berries and lightly drizzle with the warm orange blossom syrup and serve.
Taboulie Tip! You can make the phyllo dough cups ahead and keep in an airtight container at room temperature if serving within a week.
Note: You will need a standard 6-cup cupcake or muffin tin, pastry brush, and a small round bowl or glass, approximately 3 inches in diameter.
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