Middle Eastern Desserts

Written by Sarah Bednar
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Middle Eastern desserts are made from simple ingredients that are easily obtained from your Arabic grocer. Many supermarkets now carry these items, as well. Flaky pastries, sweet cheeses, fruits and nuts all form the basis for desserts that are full of flavor and unique in taste.

Middle Eastern Desserts Use Varied Ingredients

Middle Eastern cooking often uses foods in ways that are unusual to Western tastes. In Arabic cooking, cheese is considered a dessert item, and will often be studded with fruits and nuts for a sweet ending to any meal. Baklawa is a layered pastry filled with nuts, which are found in many Middle Eastern desserts. Sesame seeds, used in many recipes, are ground into a paste for a dessert called halwa. It is sometimes mixed with fruits and nuts.

Sweet yogurt and flavored syrups complement fresh fruits such as mango, guava and apricot for traditional favorites like kamareddine, an apricot nectar. As in other cultures, candies and sweets are commonly on the Middle Eastern table. Candied chick peas and Jordan almonds, crunchy sesame candies and nut nougats are sweet snacks that are also quick and easy to prepare.

Middle Eastern desserts can be purchased at an Arabic market, or at specialty food stores. They come pre-made, or you can buy the ingredients necessary to make them yourself. Using foods that have been available to Arabic cultures for centuries, you, too, can enjoy traditional desserts that have a uniquely Middle Eastern flavor. They will introduce you to the intriguing world of Arabic cooking.


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