PESACH RECIPE: Malabi with roasted strawberries, sumac and sesame brittle

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PESACH RECIPE: Malabi with roasted strawberries, sumac and sesame brittle

Dessert is often a challenge at Pesach but we can find inspiration in Middle Eastern traditions

This beautiful dessert is said to originate in Persian Iran in the late 7th century and has spread in both distance and popularity, now making it a favourite across the Middle East. Over the past few years, it has become a staple in every Israeli restaurant and is the perfect end to a heavy meal with its light and creamy texture. It lends itself to many flavours, but I have teamed it with some roasted strawberries and sesame brittle which serves as a scoop and gives a lovely crunch. The setting agent is usually cornflour but for Pesach I have substituted it with potato starch.


Yield: 6 generous portions

Prep time: 15 minutes

Setting time: 5/6 hours



1 litre almond milk

5 tbsp potato starch

5 tbsp sugar

1 heaped teaspoon group cardamom (or 4 pods lightly crushed)

1 tsp vanilla paste

3 tbsp rosewater


Roasted strawberries

400g fresh strawberries

1 tbsp honey or agave

¾ tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp sumac


Sesame brittle

250g sugar

250g sesame seeds




Measure out the potato starch into a small bowl ,add 4-5 tbsp of the almond milk and whisk to make a thick paste, ensuring no lumps.

Pour the remaining milk into a saucepan and bring to a simmer, just below boiling point.

Turn the heat down and add the sugar, cardamom, vanilla and rose, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

Once the sugar has dissolved in the milk, add the potato starch mixture, and keep whisking until it thickens. If it is taking some time, turn the heat up a little.

Once you have the consistency of treacle, pour into six individual dishes.

Leave to cool, and then put in the fridge for at least 4-5 hours or until ready to serve.


Roasted strawberries

Pre heat the oven to 185 degrees.

Wash the strawberries and slice off the green tops. Slice some into slices and others in halves or quarters so that you have a lovely mixture.

Place in an ovenproof dish and drizzle on the honey, and then sprinkle on the  sumac and the cinnamon. Toss gently so that everything is covered but being careful not to break them up.

Place them in the oven for 15-20 minutes until they begin to soften but are still holding their shape.

Take them out and leave to cool.


Sesame brittle

Put the sugar in a saucepan on a medium heat and wait for it to melt into a caramel. Be patient as it takes some time but do not leave as it will catch in a second! NB do NOT stir this, occasionally swirl the pan if needed.

Whilst the sugar is melting, lay a sheet of baking paper on the work surface and have another one at the ready with a rolling pin.

When the sugar has become a dark caramel (but not burnt!) add the sesame seeds and mix quickly. Be careful at this point as the sugar is burning hot!

Tip out onto the baking sheet (you need to do this quickly as it hardens quickly) and cover with the other baking sheet.

Using the rolling pin, roll out the sesame mixture as thin as possible and let cool.

Once cooled, peel back the baking paper and break the brittle into shards.

Serve the strawberries and shards of brittle on top of the set malabi.

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