‘My grandmom’s dessert’ is absolutely delicious and fragrant, with cow ricotta, soft goat cheese, phyllo pasta, butter, pistachios, and orange and lemon juice as main ingredients.
I recently discovered that this dessert is none other than the famous Arab dessert Mutabbaq.
I always thought it was designed by my grandmother.
How much has Arab cuisine influenced Sicilian cuisine?
As a Sicilian I say a lot, a lot.
Sicily is beautiful for this, because it has such a variable culinary and artistic heritage due to the union of many cultures from the Byzantines to the Arabs, from the Normans to the Swabians to the Angevins.
How to make My grandmom’s Arab dessert
Returning to ‘my grandmother’s dessert’ it is very easy to prepare, the ricotta is mixed with the soft goat cheese with very little sugar, the sweetness will come when the dessert is sprinkled abundantly with citrus syrup. When we talk about phyllo pasta we speak of butter, which must be of good quality as well as the ricotta and soft goat cheese.
Each sheet must be brushed with a generous dose of melted butter and the veils of phyllo, to guarantee a structure for the Mutabbaq, must be 8 on the base and 7 on top of the ricotta.
My grandmom’s Arab dessert- Mutabbaq
- 15-16 phyllo pasta sheets
- 500 g cow ricotta 17.6 oz
- 200 g soft goat cheese 7.05 oz
- 250 g sugar 8.8 oz
- 100 ml water 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp
- 3 tbsp fresh organic lemon juice
- 5 tbsp fresh organic orange juice
- 120 g melted butter 1/2 cup
- chopped pistachios for garnish
- Preheat the oven at 176°C (350°F)
- Mix the ricotta, the goat cheese, and 50g(1/3 cup) of sugar, until it becomes a smooth cream.
Orange- lemon syrup
- In a saucepan melt the sugar with 100ml (1/3 cup + 2 tbsp) of water.
- As soon as it boils, pour the lemon and orange juice, continue boiling for 2 minutes.
Preparation of phyllo dough and baking instructions
- Cut out a 3cm (1.2 inches) baking sheet larger than the size of your pan, mine is 23x23cm (9x 9 inches), so I cut a 10-11-inch square sheet.
- Put it on a work surface, brush it with a little butter, lay a sheet of phyllo, and way brush it again with melted butter and continue until you finish the 8 phyllo sheets.
- Once everything is finished, place them in the oven pan.
- Pour the ricotta cream in the center, spreading it evenly over the entire surface.
- At this point, with scissors, cut the phyllo paste along the edges rounding the corners, so as to leave only 1-2 cm (0.6 inches) of the edge, a measure that allows the phyllo to be folded over the ricotta without creating too much of a thick layer.
- Still, on the work surface, place one more baking sheet this time of the same size as the pan, continuing the same procedure as before, butter the 7 sheets of phyllo.
- Once you have finished this operation with the scissors, slightly round the edges to eliminate the tip of the corners and then lay the 7 phyllo sheets on the ricotta by removing the baking sheet that helped you turn the 7 phyllo sheets upside down on the surface of the cream.
- Everything must be perfectly arranged: the phyllo must be folded correctly and the edge of the cake must be perfect.
- If you have some butter left, brush the surface well.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes at a temperature of 176.7°C (350°F) until pastry is crisp and golden brown.
- Once the dessert is cooked, take it out of the oven and sprinkle the whole surface including the corners up to the ends with the orange-lemon syrup remembering that it is essential to leave aside a good quantity to use when serving the dessert.
- Let cool and serve.