• ليالي لبنان نباتية •
A very popular dessert throughout the Middle East, this Lebanese Semolina Pudding (Layali Lubnan) includes sweet-tart cranberries, thick coconut cream, ground pistachios, and a floral-scented syrup. This vegan recipe can whipped up quickly, then it chills in the fridge until you are ready to dig in.
Its name directly translating to “Lebanese Nights,” layali lubnan is a ubiquitous and well-loved dessert not only in Lebanon, but throughout the Middle East. At its base is a soft, yet sliceable semolina pudding that’s then covered in cream and finally drizzled with an orange blossom and rose-scented syrup. Traditional versions are almost always garnished with pistachios, but sometimes almonds or walnuts are sprinkled on top, as well. Another often employed ingredient is mastic, a uniquely flavored resin that is used in many Middle Eastern desserts, such as in rice pudding. Less traditionally, fruits, like sliced bananas or strawberries, are sometimes added for flavor contrast.
This layali lubnan recipe includes the requisite semolina, flower waters, and pistachios, but I’ve changed things up and added dried cranberries for an additional textural component to the pudding. I also substituted orange zest for the difficult-to-find mastic. And, of course, I’ve used plant-based nondairy milk in the semolina pudding and I’ve replaced the traditional thick dairy cream topping (called ashta) with whipped coconut cream, which provides an equally luxurious creaminess. No layali lubnan is complete without the flowery syrup, which serves as the sole sweetening agent. This dessert is whipped up in a very short time and can certainly be made ahead of time. It’s served cold, so keep it covered in the fridge. Then slice it into squares and garnish with the pistachios and the syrup just when you are ready to serve.
This post is my entry in the first-ever Vegan Mystery Box Challenge! Andrew from One Ingredient Chef and Sam from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken came up with it and called out to other vegan bloggers to take part in the Challenge. Here’s what it’s all about. Over 20 vegan food bloggers were given a challenge: create a recipe using the 3 secret ingredients in the Mystery Box.
A few days ago, the creators of the Challenge, Andrew from One Ingredient Chef and Sam from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken, revealed the 3 mystery ingredients: Cranberries, Pistachios, and Coconut Milk. Since then, my fellow vegan bloggers and I have each been coming up with our own creative recipes that feature these ingredients. I love all three of these so I had a lot of fun thinking up ways to combine them. It came to me very quickly that I just had to make this Lebanese Semolina Pudding with Cranberries and Pistachios. So after you’ve tried my entry, check out the rest of these yummy and unique recipes that the following vegan bloggers have whipped up for the Vegan Mystery Box Challenge!
• Vegan Cranberry Pistachio Loaf by It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken •
• Magic Fruit Cake Bars with White Chocolate Drizzle by One Ingredient Chef •
• Cranberry Cheesecake & Pistachio Stuffed Vegan French Toast by Connoisseurus Veg •
• Pistachio Crusted Cranberry Cashew Coconut Cheese by Lemon and Coconut •
• Cranberry Pistachio and Mango Salad by Veggies Save the Day •
• Cranberry Cointreau Coconut Ice Cream with Candied Pistachios by Vegan Yack Attack •
• Cranberry Pistachio Donuts by Two City Vegans (Casey) •
• Cranberry Pistachio Gingersnap Truffles by Two City Vegans (Alix) •
• Whole Wheat Cranberry Pistachio Vegan Biscotti by Veggie Inspired Journey •
• Coconut Pistachio Cashew Cheese Panini with Cranberry Jam by Peppers and Peaches •
• Toasted Pistachio Rice Pudding with Candied Cranberries by The Lazy Vegan Baker •
• Pistachio and Cranberry Cream Sandwich Cookies by Love Me Feed Me •
• Vegan Meringue Nests with Cranberry Coconut Whip and Crushed Pistachios by The Viet Vegan •
• Vegan Coconut Quinoa Salad by Beets Not Meats •
• Cranberry Orange & Pistachio Muffins With Vanilla Cream by A Virtual Vegan •
• Gourmet Lazy Cabbage Rolls by Choose to Cook •
• Sweet Potato Coconut Curry with Cranberries and Pistachios by The Tofu Diaries •
• Vegan Chocolate Cranberry Cake by The Seasonal Diet •
• Jolly Bollywood Holiday Curry by Sexie Veggies •
I suggest you kick back, get comfy, and check out all of those delicious recipes, all while you snuggle up next to the computer with spoonful after spoonful of this…
- ¾ cup cold coconut cream (* see notes below)
- 3½ cups nondairy milk (unsweetened or lightly sweetened is best)
- ¾ cup fine semolina
- pinch of salt
- ½ cup dried cranberries, chopped
- 2 teaspoons orange blossom water
- 2 teaspoons rose water
- ½ teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- ¾ cup chopped or ground pistachios
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- squeeze of orange or lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon orange blossom water
- ½ teaspoon rose water
- Put 2 cans of unshaken, full fat coconut milk into the refrigerator a few hours before you make this recipe. You want the coconut milk to be cold so that the higher fat cream solidifies. Remove just the solidified milk from the can and discard the remaining water. It should equal around ¾ cup. Whip this coconut milk just like you would whip conventional cream, either with a mixer or with a handheld whisk until it looks fluffy and spreadable. Set aside.
- In a large pot over medium-high heat, whisk together the nondairy milk, semolina, and salt. Bring this mixture to a boil, stirring frequently with a whisk so that it doesn't stick or burn. After about 30 seconds of it boiling and bubbling, remove from the heat and stir in the cranberries, orange blossom water, rose water, and orange zest. Scrape this mixture into a 9x13 inch dish and smooth out the surface so that it is even. Allow to cool on the counter for 15 minutes or until it's no longer hot. Once it is room temperature, evenly spread the whipped coconut cream over the entire surface of the semolina. Cover the dish and put it into the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours.
- To make the syrup, put the sugar in a small saucepan, then very gently pour the water onto the sugar. Add the splash of citrus juice and turn the heat on medium-high. Do not stir the syrup; just let it come to a boil by itself. Once the bubbles rise to the surface and it has reached a full boil, reduce heat to medium and boil for 5 minutes. Again, you want to avoid stirring because that may cause the syrup to crystallize later. Swirling the saucepan around a few times is ok, though. After five minutes, remove syrup from the heat, swirl in the orange blossom and rose waters, and let the syrup cool to room temperature.
- After the dessert has thoroughly chilled, slice pieces of the pudding and remove with a spatula. Decorate these with the chopped pistachios. Drizzle with as much or as little syrup as you want and enjoy.
-This recipe makes enough for a 9x13 inch dish. You can also make individual servings like I did in some of the photos above.
-I know ¾ cup sounds like a lot of sugar but remember that the syrup is the main sweetener of this dessert and you'll only need to add a couple teaspoons onto each serving.