Dining Out Magazine

A Sandwich to Die For: The Ultimate Dessert

By Nogarlicnoonions @nogarlicnoonion

My father throws a big dinner party every summer. This year catered by Abdul Rahman Hallab & Sons, the dinner was a success… but this is not what I am here to talk about. During dessert, looking at the choices on display, a light bulb lit over my head- yes just like in the cartoons. I had an ingenious idea which I wanted to try… I had the urge to create a new kind of dessert – which I now call “Halawet El Jeben Ice Cream Sandwich.” Curious yet?

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Let’s start with some definitions:

  • Halawet el Jeben is an old traditional Lebanese dessert. It is made out of cheese, semolina, sugar and rose blossom water and is served under the shape of sweet soft strips filled with Lebanese cream (Kashta) covered with pistachios. The city of Tripoli, the northern capital of Lebanon, is considered as the best manufacturer of this kind of desserts. It is so luscious you’ll get addicted! Ingredients of Halawet El Jeben: Cheese, milk cream (kashta), sugar, flour, rose water, orange blossom, pistachio.
  • Ashta, our Lebanese cream is the foundation for all pastries; yet it does not contain cream. Sure, there was a time when ashta was pure cream. Nowadays, it is made with milk and flavorings! The result: a clotted cream that tastes fresh and light, without any cream. Such is the genius of Lebanese pastry chefs. You can make it with powdered milk, milk, half-and-half, or a combo of  milk and whipping cream.
  • Ashta Ice Cream is heaven on earth. Lebanese ice cream is made with mastic gum, which lends it a gelato-like texture. It comes in many flavors and is served in narrow cones.

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The idea:

Halawet el Jeben is usually served in little pieces, torn apart like a paper you want to throw away and served with ashta on the side. The idea, this time is going to be different. We are going to combine Halawet el Jeben with Ashta ice cream into a one-of-kind sandwich. A dessert that will blow your mind away… An orgasmic sandwich!

How to do it:

  • Take a small dessert plate (25 cm in diameter)
  • Slice a large piece of Halawet El Jeben that fits this plate

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  • Mold three scoops of Ashta ice cream

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  • Cover the scoops with crushed pistachio

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  • Put the three scoops on the Halawa

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  • Roll it up like a Lebanese sandwich – “arous”

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  • Enjoy it… SIMPLY AMAZING!

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An indescribable piece of heavenly creation is the least I can say. Imagine an outer layer of Halawet El Jeben already soaked in Sugar syrup, embracing an inner filling of the best Ashta ice cream in the country. Two soft ingredients which melt under your teeth, while the pistachio adds that crunchy feel needed to make this creation perfect!

The only inconvenience:

  • Nutrition Facts of Halawet El Jeben: (1piece)

Calories 339 Sodium 294 mg

Total Fat 15 g Potassium 0 mg

Saturated 8 g Total Carbs 35 g

Polyunsaturated 0 g Dietary Fiber 1 g

Monounsaturated 0 g Sugars 23 g

Trans 0 g Protein 0 g

Cholesterol 19 mg

Vitamin A 25% Calcium 13%

Vitamin C 0% Iron 1%

  • 678 calories for the Halawet El Jeben (average two pieces), adding to that more than 700 calories for the Ashata ice cream. With more than 1400 calories in one single sandwich, this is not a dessert you want to eat everyday.

It is simple, but you would have to do it yourself. Visit Abdel Rahman Hallab, buy the ingredients and get back home to enjoy this creation.

I would love to hear your opinion about it after you’ve had the chance to taste it.

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