Shami Eish-Saraya

By Nelly Abuarqub • December 27, 2015

4 servings
30 min
Shami Eish-Saraya

A sweet and juicy bread base is covered with a thick layer of creamy milk pudding, flavoured with traditional Middle Eastern aromas and topped with luscious green pistachios. The textures and flavours in this dessert will leave you drooling! A must-try!
This dessert is from Nelly Abuarqub’s kitchen. After serving her very special traditional Palestinian Maklouba (find the recipe here), this is the dessert that she surprised us with. We could not resist asking for the recipe. It is very easy to prepare and is an absolutely delicious dessert on your table.
For best results, prepare it one day in advance! (Which makes it a great option for big dinner parties, when you need to focus on lots of other dishes on the day!) You will need a large Pyrex, 35 x25 cm.


  • 1 liter milk (4 cups) - لبن
  • 4 tablespoon sugar - سكر
  • 4 tablespoon corn flour - نشا
  • 2 small mastic / mesteka (crushed) - مستكة
  • 2 tablespoon rose water - ماء الورد
  • 2 tablespoon Orange Blossom Water - ماء الزهر
  • 170 gram cream (recommended: can of Puck cream) - قشطة
  • 10-12 slice toast (edges removed) - توست
  • 1 handful pistachios (to garnish) - فستق
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder (optional) - قرفة
  • 2 cup sugar - سكر
  • 1 cup water - ماء

Step by step

  1. Toast white toast slices (after you trim the edges) on both sides until golden in an oven. Then arrange it in the pyrex, making sure all base is completely covered with one layer of toast.
  2. To prepare the syrup, heat sugar and water on medium heat. When it boils, lower the heat and leave to simmer for about 15 minutes until slightly thickened. Stir occasionally to make sure the sugar does not stick on the sides of the pot and burn. Turn off the heat and set aside for 5 minutes so it's not too hot to handle.
  3. Using a ladle, carefully spoon the warm syrup over the toast, making sure all pieces absorb the syrup evenly. Set aside.
  4. In a pot, whisk the corn flour with the cold milk making sure the corn flour dissolves. Stir in sugar and mastic (off the heat).
  5. Place the pot on low/medium heat and stir continuously (so it doesn't stick in the bottom of pot and burn) until the milk thickens. You need the consistency of milk pudding (mehallabeyya). This should take about 15 minutes.
  6. Turn off the heat then add rose water, orange blossom water, and cream. Stir until the cream dissolves, then pour it over the toast in the pyrex (making sure it is evenly distributed).
  7. Leave to cool, then put the pyrex in the fridge for a couple of hours. For best results, leave it in the fridge overnight.
  8. Sprinkle with crushed pistachios and a little cinnamon (optional) and serve cold.


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One response to “Shami Eish-Saraya”

  1. yasmine says:

    I am currently preparing this for the 4th time!
    This is by far the best Ramadani dessert ever!
    Thanks to you Nelly I wowed my guests and was able to give a yummy edible gift to friends when invited for Iftar 🙂 Please keep your lovely Shami recipes coming…

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