Layo Paskin and Tomer Amedi give their take on modern Israeli cuisine in The Palomar Cookbook.
One of the first desserts I ever made for my family was malabi. This is a rose-scented milk pudding that you will find in every little kiosk or restaurant you pass as you wander the streets of Old Jaffa. It’s presented very simply, usually in a plastic container with some desiccated coconut, chopped pistachios and raspberry syrup on top. But don’t let the modest exterior fool you—it’s one of my most treasured, favorite sweet dishes.
For the restaurant, I wanted to create a modern interpretation of the classic malabi, so every element has received an upgrade. You can either go for the smarter restaurant-style version and serve it in individual ramekins with all the fancy toppings, or do it the family way—one big bowl, a spoon each and everyone digs in. In either case, you can revert to the traditional simple toppings. My heart belongs to both.
- To make the malabi, set aside ½ cup of the milk. Pour the rest into a heavy-bottomed saucepan with the cream and sugar, and simmer, stirring gently, until the sugar has dissolved. Add the cornstarch to the milk you have set aside along with the rose water, and stir until thoroughly blended and there are no lumps of cornstarch left — the best tool to use here is your fingers, as it’s the only way to ensure that the malabi has a smooth texture. When the creamy milk boils, give the cornstarch one final stir before adding it to the saucepan of creamy milk. Simmer over a low heat until the mixture begins to thicken, stirring constantly to make sure there are no lumps — this should take no longer than 2 minutes.
- Once thickened, pour the mixture either into 4 individual ramekins, or a large bowl if you’re going family style. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to cool to room temperature, then chill in the fridge for a couple of hours. The malabi can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. Now make the toppings.
- To make the raspberry coulis, stir the raspberries and sugar together in a bain-marie — a heatproof bowl or pan set over a pan of barely simmering water — and cook until soft. This can also be done in a microwave-proof bowl in the microwave on a low heat, but make sure you cover the bowl with plastic wrap so that you don’t have a raspberry explosion in your microwave.
- Pass through a fine sieve or, if you prefer it chunkier, you can leave it as is. The coulis will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- To make the pistachio brittle, preheat your oven to 350°F. Spread the pistachios out on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 7 minutes.
- To make the caramel for the pistachio brittle, heat a heavy-bottomed nonstick pan over a low heat and add the sugar in one even layer. The most important thing here is not to stir — if you’re worried about burning, add a couple of drops of water, but otherwise let it be. Once all the sugar has melted and you have a golden caramel, take the pan off the heat, stir in the toasted pistachios and then transfer to a tray lined with parchment paper. Leave to cool completely, then chop finely. This makes an amazing ice cream topping, too. The pistachio brittle can be kept in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
- To make the coconut meringue, preheat your oven to 275°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat to soft peaks.
- Put 2 tablespoons water and the sugar in a saucepan and heat until you have a syrup that reaches 250°F in temperature, then pour into the egg whites in a slow, steady stream while beating on a high speed. Once combined, spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a ½-inch plain piping nozzle.
- Scatter the desiccated coconut in an even layer on a tray. Now pipe ½-inch spheres of the meringue mixture on to the tray, then roll the balls to coat them in the lovely coconut shards. Transfer the coconut balls to the lined baking sheet and bake for 1½ hours until nice and dry (every oven is different from one another, so you may need another 30 minutes, but just make sure the meringues are completely dry). You’ll have rather more meringues than you need here, but whisking a smaller quantity of egg whites is tricky, and besides, you’re going to be nibbling them anyway — or you can use them as a fairly unbeatable ice cream topping. The meringues will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
- To make the crispy kataifi, preheat your oven to 400°F. Using your fingers, crumble the kataifi into a mixing bowl, add the confectioners’ sugar and mix to coat well. Pour in the melted butter and rose water and mix again.
- Spread the mixture on to a baking sheet and bake for 12–15 minutes until it’s turned a lovely golden color and is nice and crispy. The nibbling risk factor is high with this, too, so I’d recommend you make in double or triple quantities.
- To assemble the dish, grab your malabi from the fridge, pour over some of the raspberry coulis, scatter your toppings at whim, top with the extra raspberries and enjoy the explosion of flavors and textures.
Reprinted from The Palomar Cookbook. Text copyright © ZLC London Ltd 2016. Photography copyright © Helen Cathcart 2016. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.