Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thank you, Norma...

This past Christmas was spent with my immediate family and my wife's family in Beirut, where her father is from. While there, I had a dessert that was so delicious that I immediately went into culinary overload attempting to deconstruct and figure out what it was made up of.

This delectable dessert was many small cookies, that were filled with pistachios and had a sweet taste to them. The little cookies surrounded a sweet and vanilla fluff. I suggested to the native family members that the cream fluff was marshmallow with a vanilla taste and they all laughed at me, saying it was made from something called "The Root of Halawa". Well, I was sure if I couldn't find this root, that I would be able to make something that came very close to looking and tasting like it. I was given the recipe by a relative and the ingredient was listed as Halawa.

After some research in some culinary books I own, last month I came to the conclusion that this root of Halawa, was none other than Marshmallow. The recipe called for buying this root whole, then soaking it in water for 12 hours after cutting it into small pieces. You then boil the water and mix it with sugar syrup. Then you whisk it all together until it is white and fluffy. The marshmallow seems to have been used first by the Egyptians in desserts and was found in marshy areas. The marshmallow root matches the description word for word and is prepared in the same way.

So, now comes the fun part as the Lebanese person that would enjoy this the most, has diabetes. Like most of my concoctions, this one will be made as close to sugar-free as possible. The flour for the cookies can likely be exchanged with a lower GL flour. I will attempt to make marshmallows for the first time and this attempt will also be following a sugar-free recipe. If I can get the marshmallow creme to work and still be light, fluffy, and tasty, I then should be able to prepare it and plate it in such a way that it may even taste and resemble this Lebanese dessert.

1 comment:

  1. I believe this dish was called "Oohshta" or that is how it is pronounced. I did the sugar-free marshmallow creame without a single issue but the cookies didn't work too well.