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Themed dessert challenge - with conditions

I am planning a Moroccan themed dinner party. I have plenty of recipes for appetisers and main courses but am having real trouble coming up with a dessert. I would like something Moroccan or even slightly Middle Eastern, but am working under severe limitations.

Please help me come up with some ideas, keeping in mind:

1. no dairy (my guests dont eat dairy after having meat, which will be in the main course)
2. no nuts (husband doesnt like them, ground nuts eg in cakes are ok)
3. no oranges or orange flavours (one guest doesnt like oranges, go figure...)
4. preferably something that doesnt need to be assembled at the very last minute, as I like to have everything prepared in advance, if I can.

All ideas and sugestions will be greatly welcomed!

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  1. How about pomegranate sorbet with almond cookies (if the ground almonds in the cookies are ok with your husband.) A sorbet would be pretty easy to do with bottled pomegranate juice, I would think. Another option would be a cherry sorbet along the same lines. Apparently pomegranates and cherries are both grown in Morocco. Apparently almond cookies are served there. You could make those well ahead and the sorbet also.

    Or how about some kind of phyllo dessert. (You would probably want to put ground nuts in that, though).

    Or a semolina cake. Susan Spicer's book has a great semolina cake with a dried cherry compote to go with it. Also served it with a pistachio cream sauce that was very good, but that would have dairy in it.

    1. What about a lemony honey olive oil cake?
      http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

      Or a riff on a baklava (use olive oil instead of butter) with candied lemons instead of nuts

      or figs that are baked or poached some sort of sauce and then topped with leaves of phyllo with powdered sugar.

      1. Ditto Karykat's suggestion, pomegranate sorbet or even granita.

        Also, anything date or fig related. There's lots of recipes for confections as well as cakes on-line. Some say to serve with yoghurt, but maybe you could sub Tofutti, if it's dairy-free, which I think it is.

        Isn't watermelon native to the middle east? It's totally out of season right now, but you could make a watermelon bombe using dark green, light green, and red sorbets and chocolate seeds. The pomegranate sorbet would be great for the red part.

        1. Try a couscous cake - basically couscous cooked in juice, sugar and spices, then pressed into a lined mold until it cools. Then you unmold and slice. You can add dried fruit to the couscous while it cooks, if you want (dates are good).

          1. Can you get quinces? They're wonderful poached in simple syrup and a little wine with spices. You can do it way in advance, keep them in the pot, then serve over ice cream or topped with some cream. Just warm them a little right before you serve! I can get you a recipe if you want it.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Kagey

              but no dairy, so ice cream is out....

              1. re: DGresh

                Oh yes, sorry! Well, you could serve them alone, too. That's how I usually eat them.

            2. Try Epicurious.com .. they have an advanced search that is excellent, you can pick the course, the regional cuisine, and they have a function for excluding ingredients. I did a quick search and came up with:

              Fig and Sesame tart http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... (there is a little dairy, but enough other flavors you could sub soy and no one would be the wiser, and you can either skip the cream on top, or use a sub

              )

              Couscous cake recipe http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

              1. Would olive oil cake count as Middle Eastern-ish enough? Here's a recipe that's been sitting in my need-to-try pile for a couple of months:

                http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                If you wanted to dress it up a bit, you could make a lemon glaze for the cake, and serve a platter of dried figs, dates, etc alongside.

                edit: whoops! just saw that somebody else posted this recipe way before I did. Sorry.

                1 Reply
                1. re: chloe103

                  I've made this cake, with e.v. olive oil, it's quite delicious.

                2. if you can get a soy based vanilla "icecream" or something along those lines, i saw this once and it sounded like it might fit..

                  it was basically scoops of vanilla "ice cream"...topped with crumbled halvah, crunched up sesame crisp candy (those little rectangular things, about four in a package), and drizzled with honey.