This creamy dessert is not cloyingly sweet but tastes almost fresh. It is often associated
with the Middle East, but one Moroccan told me that it has been made “ours” by often
adding ingredients such as rose water or almonds instead of pistachios. In Rabat, I had
a version of the pudding with a half-dozen threads of local saffron stirred into the bowl.
The saffron gave the pale-colored pudding not only a distinctive flavor but also vibrant
patches of yellow where the color bled from the threads.
The garnish of toasted sliced almonds offers a nice balance in taste and texture, but feel
free to make the pudding “yours” by spreading, say, a spoonful of a favorite preserve or
marmalade on top before scattering the almonds.
21⁄2 cups/600 ml milk
3 Tbsp sugar
1⁄3 cup/45 g cornstarch
About 1⁄4 cup/30 g sliced almonds
Ground cinnamon for dusting
In a heavy saucepan, bring the milk and sugar
to a simmer over medium heat. In a small mixing
bowl, whisk the cornstarch with 3 Tbsp water to
make a runny paste. Slowly add to the milk while
stirring with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring continually,
until the mixture thickens, 1 to 2 minutes.
Remove from the heat.
Pass the pudding through a fine-mesh sieve
or chinois into a bowl. Divide among four dessert
bowls, flan cups, or short, fat glasses. Let cool.
Cover and refrigerate until chilled and set.
Preheat the broiler. Spread the almonds in
a cake pan. Broil, shaking the pan from time to
time, until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Watch carefully
that the nuts don’t burn.
Just before serving, scatter the almonds over
the puddings and dust with cinnamon.