Ramadan Desserts: Tempting to the Palate

July 18, 2013
Ramadan Desserts: Tempting to the Palate
Ramadan Desserts: Tempting to the Palate
Laura Bashraheel


Laura Bashraheel

Saudi Gazette


RAMADAN is a special time of the year for Muslims around the world. While not only main meals are different but some desserts as well are only seen during the holy month. Nowadays however, people are keeping the traditional taste but adding their own twists.

Arwa Numan, a taste consultant and recipe developer, said that every Ramadan they serve traditional Madini (from the city of Madinah) desserts like “lahooh,” which is basically layers of crepes with brown flour, melted butter on top and sugar alongside with other desserts like kunafa, qatayef, legaimat, basbosa, and Mahalabeya.

Ramadan is associated with traditions and to the authentic Arabic taste such as saffron, cardamom, rose water and orange blossom water, mastic, cinnamon and pistachio. “Traditions are seen in everything around Ramadan. We even scent the cups with mastic before we pour water or Zamzam,” Numan said.

Despite the fact that most Arabs serve the same desserts, kunafa could be considered the most popular dessert in Arab countries. It originated from the Palestinian city of Nablus. Over the past few years people have started adding their own touches to traditional desserts and one of which is kunafa. Originally, kunafa is made with cream “qeshta”, cheese or banana filling.

“The traditional desserts are now done with a twist, like basbosa with Nutella filling or caramel instead of cream “qeshta”. Also, some sweet shops have introduced kunafa filled with cheesecake, which is so popular nowadays,” Numan explained.

She also said that nowadays they make modern desserts with the main ingredients for Ramadan such as dates and cardamom with a twist. “Last year I made kunafa with Nutella and banana, and a lot of people liked the idea. This year I’m thinking of making red velvet kunafa,” she added.

Dina Ismaeel, a mother of five, said Ramadan desserts never changed in their household, as every year her husband and kids ask for the same desserts considering that month to be special and different from the rest of the year.

“We make the traditional desserts such as kunafa and qatayef (pancakes filled with cream or almonds). My children only ask for them in Ramadan.

Recently a few recipes have changed, while some shops are trying to be more creative and have come up with traditional types of dessert but with different fillings such as chocolate. My kids love them because who doesn’t like chocolate,” she said.

Although Ghada Fadil claims that Ramadan has lost some of its traditions over the years, dessert is the one of the few things that has not changed.

“People have started changing their eating habits in Ramadan while some try to stay healthy and maintain their weight during the month but I believe desserts are still the same,” said Fadil.

“In all our family gatherings in Ramadan we make kunafa with cream and banana as the main dessert. Although my children love desserts such as Oreo cookies, cheesecake or red velvet cupcakes, they ask for kunafa and qatayef every year,” she added.

July 18, 2013
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