The meaning of the word “Layali” is nights and “Libnan” is Lebanon, so the verbal translation for this recipe is Lebanese nights. I tried to research from where it got its name but was disappointed to find nothing! Why disappointed? Well Lebanon is known among the Arab world as being the most lively and interesting city, especially it’s nightlife with the various clubs and parties. Given that the name of this famous Arabic sweet is Lebanese Nights, I was expecting an interesting story….
If you google “Layali Libnan” you will find different recipes for this sweet. Some recipes include Semolina and some don’t. In our family Layali Libnan is the sweet without semolina, the one with semolina we call Halawat Al Smeed, meaning semolina sweet. Both sweets are very similar and are served with Ater (sugar syrup).
Layali Libnan is an amazingly easy Arabic Sweets recipe to make. It consists of three layers: the bottom layer is a light and refreshing pudding that includes slices of fresh bananas. This is then topped with a layer of whipping cream that is covered with coarsely chopped pistachios.
Layali Libnan Recipe
Preparation time: 10 min Cook time: 10 min
5 cups of milk (either full-cream milk or low-fat milk, but not skimmed milk)
¾ cup corn flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon orange blossom water
3 large bananas
1 package dry whipping cream mixture, prepared and whipped as per instructions
¼ cup peeled and crushed unsalted pistachios
How to make Layali Libnan:
- Put the milk, corn flour, sugar and orange blossom water in a pan over medium-high heat and mix well with a whisk until it boils and thickens. Usually it needs about 4 to 5 minutes after it boils to thicken; during this period reduce heat to medium and mix continuously.
- Pour the pudding into a glass dish, I use an oval shaped dish that is 35cm X 23cm (approximately 14 inches X 9 inches).
- Quickly slice the bananas and layer them over the pudding. After I layer the bananas I like to push them with the tip of the knife so they sink in the pudding as this will protect them from turning black-brown.
- Set the dish aside to cool completely.
- Once the pudding is cold, spread a layer of the prepared whipping cream on top. Cover the dish with cling nylon food wrap. Put dish in the fridge for a few hours before serving.
- Before serving, sprinkle the crushed pistachios on top. To crush the pistachios I put them in a nylon bag, wrap the bag with a kitchen towel and then use a garlic hammer to crush them.
Serve Layali Libnan with Ater (sugar syrup) on the side. Each person can pour as much with sugar syrup as they like. Personally, I prefer my pudding without any syrup, I find the cool and light texture quite refreshing.
Hope you enjoyed today’s easy sweet recipe: Layali Libnan; a traditional Middle Eastern (Arabic) dessert. Bon appetite.
Do you like your Arabic Sweets with with sugar syrup (Ater) or do you prefer them without?