Lebanon’s Tastiest Dessert

 

woman eating Asthma dessert plate

Caught on a hot day touring one of the oldest cities in the world (Byblos), I craved sweet fruit and the Lebanese fruit plate was the perfect reprieve! However, the Lebanese don’t just slice fruit and plate it, they add a special ingredient that is unlike any dessert I have ever tried.

Lebanese Fruit Plate

What is this splendid addition to the traditional fruit plate? Ashta! It’s a floral cream that begins as whole milk then boiled down and flavored with rose water, orange blossom water, lemon and a pinch of sugar. It is the tastiest, protein-rich treat ever!

Lebanese Fruit

Where can it be found? There are numerous spots throughout Byblos jut outside the Souq that serve smoothies based with astha, avocados and juice. These restaurants are very easy to order from – many have English menus – with servers who are happy to customize each order.

Lebanese fruit plate menu
Lebanese Astha Fruit Plate

Make It At Home

ashta fruit plate

Ingredients
3 cups of whole milk (preferably raw)
3 cups of half-and-half (milk with cream)
½ teaspoon of rose water
½ teaspoon of orange blossom water
½ teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
A pinch of sugar (optional)
Sliced Fruit of Choice

Instructions
In a saucepan, bring the milk and half-and-half to a boil on medium heat all while continuously stirring. If you choose to add a pinch of sugar (optional) you can add it initially to the milk.
Add the lemon juice and see the milk immediately starting to clot.
Add the rose water and orange blossom water, stir well.
Using a spatula with wholes, or a strainer, start collecting the clotted cream from the surface and place them into a separate strainer.

Continue collection process until milk in saucepan turns into a near clear color. You may need to add a few more drops of lemon juice to induce more clotting, but don’t add too much.

When the collected Ashta cools down to room temperature, you can use it as a filler in Arabic sweets, or you can serve it with fruit cocktails garnished with honey and walnuts or raw pistachios.

Serve fresh at room temperature or serve cold.

Note: Ashta requires refrigeration and It can last 2-3 days in the fridge.

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