This beautiful set custard is a Middle Eastern classic - simple, refined and (in this recipe) vegan! Eyal uses a mixture of coconut cream, sugar and cornstarch to create this sweet commonly found in eateries and restaurants across the region. Often topped with a luminous red sauce in North Africa, Eyal’s recipe instead calls for an easy strawberry compote, elevated with rose water. The dessert is then topped with candied pistachios, encapsulating the flavours and aromas of the Middle East.
The Custard - Malabi originated in North Africa, and is essentially a custard made from milk and cream flavoured with rose water. This floral note is the secret weapon in Malabi as it flavours the dish with an unmistakable Middle eastern note without overpowering it. For his recipe, Eyal has opted to go plant based, using coconut cream and cornstarch, sweetened with sugar. This coconut base makes the dessert a lot lighter, and is perfect as a sweet at the end of an Israeli feast!
Fruit sauce - while the most common topping for shop bought Malabi is a bright red syrup thickened into an almost jelly like consistency, Eyal will instead show you how to make a quick and easy compote using strawberries, spiced with star anise and cloves. Because the custard has a mild creamy flavour, it pairs well with fruit that has a good balance of tangy sweetness.
Topping - Both the custard and fruit sauce are quite soft components to the dish, so to add some variation in texture Eyal uses crushed pistachios sprinkled on top. Cooked gently in some demerara sugar, the nuts take on an almost caramelised exterior which gives a great mouthfeel to the dessert.