How to make ashta for atayef dessert?

What is ashta?

Ashta is a popular Middle Eastern dairy product used in different desserts. It is a thick and creamy filling made from simmered milk, sugar, and a thickening agent. It is commonly used as a filling for atayef, a traditional Middle Eastern dessert similar to pancakes filled with ashta, nuts, and syrup. Ashta is known for its rich and creamy texture and its subtle flavor that complements different desserts.

Ingredients needed for ashta

To make ashta, you will need 4 cups of whole milk, 1 cup of heavy cream, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon of cornstarch or rice flour, and 1 tablespoon of rose water. You will also need a heavy-bottomed pot, a whisk, a strainer, and a bowl of ice water. Make sure to use high-quality and fresh ingredients to get the best results.

Preparing the milk for ashta

To prepare the milk for ashta, pour the milk and heavy cream into a heavy-bottomed pot and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it reduces to half its original volume. This process can take up to 1 hour, so be patient and keep an eye on the milk to prevent it from boiling over.

Cooking the milk for ashta

Once the milk has reduced to half its volume, add the sugar and cornstarch or rice flour to the pot and whisk until the mixture thickens. Keep whisking for about 5-10 minutes until the mixture becomes thick and creamy. Be careful not to let the mixture stick to the bottom of the pot or burn.

Adding rose water to ashta

Once the mixture has thickened, remove the pot from the heat and add the rose water to the mixture. Whisk the mixture again to combine the rose water with the ashta. Rose water adds a subtle floral flavor to the ashta and complements the sweetness of the sugar.

Straining the milk for ashta

To remove any lumps or impurities from the ashta, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Use a spoon to press down on the mixture and extract as much liquid as possible. This will result in a smooth and creamy ashta filling.

Cooling the ashta

Once the ashta has been strained, place the bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice water to cool it down quickly. This will prevent the ashta from curdling and will help it to set properly. Stir the ashta occasionally to distribute the heat evenly and to prevent a skin from forming on top.

Using ashta for atayef dessert

To use ashta for atayef dessert, fill the pancakes with a spoonful of ashta and nuts, fold them over, and seal the edges. Fry the atayef in hot oil until they are golden brown and crispy. Once they are cooked, drizzle them with syrup and serve them warm.

Tips for making perfect ashta

To make perfect ashta, use whole milk and heavy cream to get a rich and creamy texture. Reduce the heat and simmer the milk slowly to prevent it from boiling over or burning. Keep whisking the mixture to prevent lumps from forming and to ensure that the ashta is smooth and silky.

Storing leftover ashta

If you have leftover ashta, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can also freeze it for up to a month. To thaw the ashta, place it in the fridge overnight and whisk it again before using it.

Variations of ashta for different desserts

Ashta can be used as a filling for different desserts such as baklava, knafeh, and qatayef. You can also flavor the ashta with different ingredients such as saffron, cardamom, or pistachios. You can also use different thickening agents such as semolina or flour to get a different texture.

Conclusion: Enjoy your homemade ashta

Making homemade ashta is a rewarding experience that will elevate any dessert to the next level. By following these simple steps and tips, you can make a creamy and delicious ashta that will impress your family and friends. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavors and textures to make your own unique creations. Enjoy your homemade ashta and happy cooking!

Photo of author

Elise DeVoe

Elise is a seasoned food writer with seven years of experience. Her culinary journey began as Managing Editor at the College of Charleston for Spoon University, the ultimate resource for college foodies. After graduating, she launched her blog, Cookin’ with Booze, which has now transformed into captivating short-form videos on TikTok and Instagram, offering insider tips for savoring Charleston’s local cuisine.

Leave a Comment