These Egyptian desserts are so incredible that even Cleopatra would have approved.
In fact, a few of them have been around so long that she might have even had them once or twice!
Full of coconut, various nuts, raisins, and cinnamon, these desserts are primarily sweet, but some are a little fruity or nutty.
You can always add a little sea salt to them if you prefer a saltier treat.
There should be something on this list to suit everyone’s tastes, although the majority of these treats are rich and sugary.
So if you’re a person who has a real sweet tooth, you couldn’t pick a better country for desserts.
Who knows, you may even find a new favorite on this sweet culinary tour of Egypt!
This traditional Egyptian dessert doesn’t date back quite to Cleopatra’s time, but it goes as far back as the 13th century.
The story behind its origin is really quite interesting and involves intrigue, the royal court, a jealous wife, and murder.
Despite all that, it’s now considered one of Egypt’s national desserts.
Usually, the recipe calls for Egyptian flatbread or puff pastry as a base, but this recipe uses palmiers instead.
Either way, the final product is a lot like bread pudding. It’s flaky, nutty, and sugary.
The top is caramelized heaven, and the inside is smooth and creamy.
My mom likes to say that just looking at this Egyptian sweet cake is enough to give her diabetes, and while she’s joking, she’s not entirely wrong.
The cake is lovely, but it’s sweet, covered in syrup, and dusted all over with sugar.
You’ll make the tasty, hand-mixed syrup from lemon juice and honey.
While the honey adds to the overall sugar content, the lemon juice does add a slight tartness, which is nice.
The nuts on top add a bit of crunchiness, and their salt helps offset all the sweet ingredients, as well.
Even so, this cake is best when served with hot tea or coffee to help balance out the intense sugar rush.
The recipe also gives you detailed instructions on how to cut the cake to make it a proper basbousa.
I promise you that it tastes just as wonderful if you can’t figure out the intricate design.
It may look like an odd plate of broccoli and cheese, but this dessert is a Middle Eastern favorite, especially during Ramadan when Muslims spend most of the day fasting.
For the filling, you’ll only need whole milk, heavy cream, sugar, and cornstarch.
You’ll make the crust from ghee and shredded phyllo pastry, then soak the whole dessert in condensed milk when it’s done.
It’s rich and sweet, but most of all, it’s filling, which is why it’s so popular for breaking Ramadan fasts.
It’ll hold you over until your next meal.
This crispy, layered pastry may look like a deflated croissant, but it tastes pretty amazing.
To make it, you’ll only need five basic baking ingredients – salt, unsalted butter, oil, water, and flour.
Making feteer meshaltet requires a fair amount of kneading, stretching, and folding dough.
You’re basically making a lot of super-thin layers of pastry and folding them in and on top of one another.
If you want your dough to brown better, you can add a tablespoon of granulated sugar to the mixture.
Once you’ve finished cooking the feteer, top it with your favorite toppings; chocolate sauce, berries, whipped cream, honey, or caramel all work perfectly as feteer toppings.
You could also serve it with molasses, sweet gravy, or other dipping sauces and use the feteer like sweet chips.
5. Rice Pudding
We’ve probably all tasted rice pudding, but unless you’re an Egyptian native or descendent, I’m not sure that you’ve ever had rice pudding quite like this.
This recipe comes straight from the source – someone’s Egyptian grandma, and we know no one cooks sweets like grandma, even if she’s not your grandma.
If you follow this recipe correctly, you’ll end up with the creamiest, silkiest, most decadently delicious rice pudding you’ve ever tried.
The broiled topping just adds a whole other layer of yumminess to the overall dish.
Best of all, you can make this one with limited ingredients, and aside from bake time, it only takes 15 minutes to whip up.
Baklava is one of those desserts that most everyone has heard of, but surprisingly, not a lot of people have eaten it.
Some people don’t even know what it is other than “some kind of food.”
If you’re not sure what it is, I’ll tell you. It’s layer upon layer of flaky, nutty, crispy, flaky (yes, I said it twice) goodness.
People make baklava in several different ways, but this particular recipe is great, especially if you’re looking for an Egyptian dessert that isn’t cloyingly, overpoweringly sweet.
This baklava has a layer of buttered phyllo dough, followed by a layer of cinnamon-covered walnuts, followed by five more layers of phyllo dough, then another layer of walnuts.
Finally, you’ll add 10 final phyllo dough layers and top the last one off with melted butter.
(I bet you can already imagine how crunchy, light, and crispy this is going to be, can’t you? It’s even better than you’re imagining.)
Once it’s baked, you’ll finish it off with a syrup of honey, lemon juice, water, and sugar. Even so, it’s not as sweet as it sounds.
If you want it a little sweeter, drizzle it with chocolate sauce before serving.
This recipe is the simplest dessert on this entire list to make. All you’ll have to do is boil and fluff your couscous.
Then add your powdered sugar and butter to make it sweet, soft, and creamy.
That’s all it takes.
If you want to make it a little more exciting or give it a little extra flavor, you can also add additional toppings, such as raisins, dried fruit, coconut flakes, nuts, powdered sugar, or your favorite sweet topping.
Every time I pull out this recipe, I get so tickled at the chef’s insistence that ghee is the only way to go with these cookies.
In other words, don’t try substituting unsalted butter. They won’t come out the same.
Aside from the ghee, you’ll only need three other ingredients – flour, powdered sugar, and just a hint of baking powder.
If you want to top the cookies off with your favorite nuts, you can add those to your shopping list, as well.
The cookies are supremely buttery, soft, and yes, they will quite literally melt in your mouth.
If you’re feeling creative, the dough lends itself nicely to shaping the cookies in fun, lighthearted ways, but they taste just as marvelous if you leave them unshaped.
When people first look at this dessert, they see the 15-hour prep time and run screaming in the other direction.
A massive chunk of that time, though, involves leaving the batter out to ferment overnight.
You’ll know the batter is fermented when you see tiny bubbles on the top of it.
After that, it doesn’t take long to make, although it takes a little bit of craftsmanship to swirl the batter just right.
When you finally finish, you’re left with a sweet, crunchy candy.
The syrup adds a lovely, shiny glaze that looks great.
If you want to add crushed nuts or some other toppings, the stickiness of the syrup will help hold them in place.
The best way I know to describe the consistency of these pastries is to say they’re similar to the cinnamon twists served at Taco Bell.
They’re lightweight, exceptionally crispy, and hollow inside.
Some variations of this recipe fill the pastries with custard, whipped cream, or mascarpone instead of leaving them hollow.
Once you’ve fried them, you can either fully submerge them in homemade syrup (Caro syrup would also work) or drizzle them in honey.
Aside from cinnamon, other flavor toppings include rose water, vanilla, and orange blossom water.
You can also dust them in powdered sugar for an extra-sugary treat.
These round, puffy cookies are perfectly delightful.
They’re incredibly buttery and coated in powdered sugar. Each cookie contains a pistachio filling made from honey, pistachios, flour, sesame seeds, and ghee.
The cookie dough also features a dash of cinnamon for a little extra bit of spice. They smell great, and they taste even better.
If pistachios aren’t your thing, you can alternate the filling, using dates, raisins, walnuts, or something else entirely.
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