Barzaaris Muhallebi

Recipe: Barzaari muhallebi-arak sorbet, candied fig, meringue, rose dessert


Muhallebi is a milk-based rice custard, historically from Cyprus, Greece and the Middle East. It’s simple and versatile and delicious.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Makes: 6 portions


-4 cup milk
-1/2 cup rice flour -1/2 cup caster sugar -2 vanilla
-2 cinnamon quill


-Remove vanilla from its pod, cutting along the length of the pod, then scraping into milk, with whole cinnamon quills.

-In a heavy based saucepan, slowly bring milk to a boil. Stirring often.

-Ensure stove is set low, remove cinnamon. Now sift in rice flour, using a whisk, mix as you sift.

-Continue to whisk for approximately 20 minutes at a low setting.

-Once the milk gives a volcanic looking bubble up and resembles the thickness of pouring custard, whisk in sugar until completely dissolved.

-Now pour muhallebi into desired serving dish, allow to set at room temperature for 30mins, or refrigerate for a later use.


Arak sorbet

Arak is a clear, unsweetened Anise distilled liquor. The drink of choice in the Arab world comprising 50% alcohol.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 2 hours

Makes: 6 portions


-3 cups water
-3/4 cup caster sugar
-1/4 liquid glucose
-1 titanium gelatin sheet
-50ml Arak (we use ‘Gantous & Abou Raad’ from Zahle in central Lebanon)


-Soak gelatin in cold water until softened.

-Bring water, sugar, glucose to the boil, remove from heat, add softened gelatin.

-Once sorbet base is completely cool, add arak.

-Churn sorbet according to manufacturer instructions.

*In the absence of an ice cream machine, make a ‘granita’. Simply pour mixture into a tray with a large surface area. Place in freezer, scraping every hour with a fork until delicate ice crystals form.


Rosewater jelly

Rosewater often incorporated directly into the muhallebi. They have done things a little differently.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Makes: 6 portions


-80g caster sugar
-200ml water
-2 gelatine sheet, titanium, ice water soak -1/2 teas pink colour
-15ml rosewater


-Soak gelatin sheets in cold water until softened.

-Bring water and sugar to the boil

-Remove from heat, stir through gelatin, add food colouring. -Ensure mixture has cooled before adding rosewater.

-Set in an airtight container, refrigerate.

To serve:

-Candied figs can be sourced through any good Greek or Mediterranean delicatessen. Remove from jar, and slice thin with a wet knife. 1 fig per serve

-With a ‘Parisian scoop’ or melon baller, scoop watermelon. 5 piece per serve

Assemble jelly, figs and watermelon alternatively around the perimeter of the muhallebi serving dish.

-Scoop arak sorbet in the centre, and drizzle a little of the candied fig syrup to finish.

Or if you can’t be bothered making this yourself, head to Barzaari in Marrickville.

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