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14 Sweet Middle Eastern Desserts to Enjoy After Meals

By | Last Updated: 30th May 2023

The culture of Middle Eastern countries is highly reflected in their cuisines and desserts are a significant part of it. From pudding to cake recipes, finger foods to jelly items, Middle Eastern desserts include all sorts of food that will entice any person with sweet teeth. Colorful, delicious, and nutritious, you can have everything under the umbrella of this dessert section.

Middle Eastern Dessert

1. Zabadee el Mishmish – A Delicacy of Egypt

Zabadee el Mishmish Middle Eastern Dessert


What is it: This one is a delicious pudding platter prepared with apricot alongside yogurt and cheese. Toppings of rose or any other syrup, crushed apricots, almonds, or pistachios, enhance its richness further.

What does it taste like: The sweet-tangy flavor of apricot combined with the creaminess of cheese, and nutiness of the almonds and pistachio, gives it a unique taste indeed. It is mainly served chilled, making for a perfect summer treat.

2. Almond & Pistachio Cake – A Delectable Affair

Almond & Pistachio Cake Middle Eastern Dessert


What is it: The gluten-free dish is all about a cake prepared mostly from almonds and pistachios. It also includes orange. It is a ubiquitous dish and no celebration is complete without the cake.

What does it taste like: The spongy texture of the cake makes it a soft one to chew. You can have it with afternoon tea or other beverages. The toppings, at times, include the crushed almonds.

3. Kanafeh – An Authentic Middle-eastern Preparation

Kanafeh Middle Eastern Dessert


What is it: An orange cake that includes noodles or kataifi, sometimes with semolina and syrup. This is popular across Greece, Turkey, and many other countries. This preparation is known as konafi, kunafa, and kunafeh. In Arabian regions, the dish name suggests the noodles like ingredients, while in other places, the name denotes the entire dish.

What does it taste like: The sweet taste is mainly due to the incorporation of sugar-based syrup, rose water, and sugar. Variations of the dish include khishnah, na’ama, mhayara, and mbrwma.

4. Basbousa – The Pieced “Happiness”

Basbousa Middle Eastern Dessert


What is it: Basically a cake preparation that is served in pieces. Popular across the globe, in Armenia, it is known as shamali, in Turkey, its name is ravani, and Arab this is what people call harīsa. The appearance is somewhat orange to golden-brown. In countries like Egypt, people consider this item as a must during the holy month of Ramadan and Eid, and as for catholic Christians are concerned, they prefer the vegan version of the dish for their Nativity Fast and Lent festivals.

What does it taste like: The semolina or farina based item gives a taste of rosewater or orange flower water( whichever is used), along with yogurt and syrup. This is soft and quickly melts inside your mouth. Topping is often done with almonds, so the nutty taste is the first thing to encounter.

5. Aish el Saraya – A Common Preference

Aish el Saraya Middle Eastern Dessert


What is it: This is a traditional sweet dish that involves pudding layered on bread rusks. It is frequently used in households. In Arabian countries, this is widespread mostly because of its easy making process. It looks like tiramisu of the Middle Eastern countries.

What does it taste like: The pudding can be consumed separately because this is so tasty. The toasted rusks and the contrasting soft creamy pudding create a crunchy and smooth taste at the same time. The crushed pistachios on top crumble down easily.

6. Ush-el-bul-bul – The Bird’s Nest Preparation

Ush-el-bul-bul Birds Nest Dessert Middle Eastern


What is it: This lightweight dessert is made of knafeh dough and sweetening agent. The name of the dish means the nest of a bird, and that is due to the appearance of the meal.

There is another dish called burma, that is somewhat similar to this one, but they are different when it comes to ingredients.

What does it taste like: The baked dish is all about corn starch and wheat flour with a filling of cashew or any other nuts. So, this is crunchy, and one can consume multiple at a time.

7. Baklava – A Traditional Dessert

Baklava Traditional Dessert


What is it: Fillo based pastry with lots of nuts and other sugary ingredients. This Turkish dish is prevalent in other provinces like Maghreb, Southeast Europe, and South Caucasus. In some countries, dried baklava is preferred than the traditional one.

What does it taste like: There is a certain crunchiness as there are nuts involved. It is sweet as well because of the honey.

8. Honey Cinnamon Apple Cake – The Fruity Item

Honey Cinnamon Apple Cake Sweet Middle Eastern Dessert


What is it: As the name suggests, this cake has apple and cinnamon along with other ingredients like flour, buttermilk, baking powder, and baking soda.

What does it taste like: The apple flavor merged with cinnamon is something that will stay with you for a long time. It could be sticky and soft both.

9. Awamat – Middle Eastern Dessert Balls

Awamat Middle Eastern Dessert Balls


What is it: Small balls of sweetness! That is how it can be best described. Its other name is Lebanese crisp doughnut balls. They are mostly golden brown due to deep frying.

What does it taste like: The fried taste mingled with the syrupy flavor. It is soft and oily, but a napkin usually soaks the excess oil.

10. Fresh Fig and Honey Tart – The Eye-catching Garnishing

Fresh Fig and Honey Tart Middle Eastern Dessert


What is it: Elaborate tart preparation with fig as the garnishing. This is a seasonal dish as fig is not always available. With its typical Middle Eastern heritage, it is served cool.

What does it taste like: The tart has a basic taste but due to the addition of honey, lemon juice, and cheese, it has an awesome flavor, enhanced with figs.

11. Halva – The Favored Dessert

Halva Middle Eastern Dessert


What is it: Known as Halwa or Halva, this is a chunky sweet dessert that is mostly made of sesame paste. In the absence of sesame seeds, flour can be used.

What does it taste like: Quite obviously, the sesame taste is merged with sweetness as sugar does not forget to play its part. It is generally consumed with tea or coffee.

12. Jelly Custard Cookie Cake – The Layered and Colorful Dessert

Jelly Custard Cookie Cake Middle Eastern Dessert


What is it: The small and colorful gelatin-based cake. It is called cookie cake because, in Arabic, its name is ka’kat albaskoot, meaning biscuit cake. The slow-cooked recipe has three layers of ingredients, with banana stuffed into the first layer.

What does it taste like: The base is crunchy biscuits, but it is subdued with the buttery flavor and gelatin.

13. Eton Rhubarb Mess – An English Inspired Dish

Eton Rhubarb Mess Middleton Dessert


What is it: A combination is rhubarb, cream, meringues, served on a glass. This is colorful and promising, mainly because of the ingredients it has.

What does it taste like: The primary taste of rhubarb is enhanced with the creaminess and sweetness of whipped cream, rhubarb juices, and crunchy biscuits.

14. Kabak Tatlısı – A Top Turkish Preparation

kabak Tatlısı Middle Eastern Dessert


What is it: Cooked pumpkin with some of the toppings looking delicious. This dish is a typical dessert choice in Turkey, especially during the winter season.

What does it taste like: It is sweet, with all the sugar sprinkled on the top along with walnuts and creamy kayamak. It can be consumed without any accompaniments.

The Middle Eastern dessert comes from the kitchen of the countries like Arab to Turkey, Egypt to Lebanon. With the conventional cooking process and available vegetables, these desserts are made with love, precision, and tradition.

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