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Pistachio Mafroukeh (Syrian dessert)

A traditional Middle Eastern delicacy sweet with a new twist! It is a semolina-based pistachio concoction, with an ashta cream.

Mafroukeh is basically a semolina-pistachio concoction, with a paste like texture, which is both creamy and crunchy, with floral notes from orange blossom and rose water.  Topping (or stuffing) it with a creamy layer of ashta cream, and an optional drizzle of sugar syrup..

Pistachios are part and parcel of the region’s food, and we can’t help but sit back and enjoy its excessive use.

Mafroukeh is known also as Fosdoe’ya (Arabic for Pistachio), it is second choice after Atayef on our Iftar menu treat




1 cup unsalted pistachios, shelled, lightly toasted & cooled*

3/4 cup  sugar, divided

1/4 cup unsalted butter


1/2 cup semolina

1 cup water

1 tablespoon orange blossom water

1 teaspoon rose water

1 cup ashta cream



Chopped pistachios

Ground pistachios



Rose & orange blossom water sugar syrup



1.         In a food processor, pulse together the pistachios and 2 tablespoons of the sugar until very finely ground. Be careful not to over-process the mixture, to avoid turning the pistachios into pistachio butter.

2.         In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium-high heat until melted. Add in the semolina and stir until all the grains are well coated with the butter. Continue sautéing until just begins to smell fragrant; about 2 more minutes. It should barely change color.

3.         Add in the water and the remaining 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar and stir to combine; mixture will be very loose. Continue cooking the mixture, stirring continuously, until the semolina has absorbed all the moisture, is no longer loose, comes together in one mass and pulls cleanly from the sides of the pan, about 3 minutes. Mixture should resemble mashed potatoes in consistency.

4.         Add in the ground pistachio mixture, both the orange blossom and rose waters, and stir until well combined and homogeneous.



Transfer to a serving platter and spread into a 2-cm thick, about 9-inches circle (or any shape you prefer), and let cool completely (at room temp or in the fridge) before topping with the ashta.

Once cool, spread the ashta all over the top. Use as much or as little ashta as you like; I use all of it. Then garnish with chopped pistachios. Keep refrigerated until serving time. Serve cold or at cool room temperature.


Lara Khouli