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Dec 16, 2009 12:30 PM

need dessert idea for middle eastern dinner

Hi everyone,

Tomorrow night I'm having my in-laws over along with my brother and sister-in-law. I'm making a vegetarian middle-eastern dinner. The menu is as follows:

pre-meal snacks
homemade hummus
baked feta and cherry tomatoes

homemade felafel
accompanied with pita and tzaziki, also hummus of course

Need a dessert for this. I don't really care if it's middle eastern, though that would be OK. Oh, and EASY IS GOOD but I do work quickly and under pressure really well. So give me any ideas you have, middle eastern or not, that would seem to complement this menu.

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  1. Chocolate covered dates, a baklava made with pistachios, cheese Quatayef.

    6 Replies
    1. re: todao

      yum! chocolate covered dates sound awesome! Do you think all three would be too much? I don't know what cheese Quatayef is,but I will google.

      I have done baklava before and it turned out well. Can I do that by tomorrow night if I still need to clean the house, make the meal, attend a party tonight and a birthday lunch tomorrow?

      (what I have I gotten myself into???)

        1. re: IndyGirl

          Quatayef are essentially yeasted pancakes that are filled with a variety of ingredients. Quite easy to prepare and truly an authentic treat.
          Yes, I do believe that you could serve all three, offering choices to your guests (and thrilling those who absolutely "must" try all three - that's where I sit) but that's quite a time and energy commitment. If you have the time and energy, go for it.
          If you find you're in a pinch at some point (maybe at a dinner in the future) a good quality pistachio ice cream served in a brioche and sprinkled with freshly chopped pistachios (or you could substitute the ice cream with a pistachio pudding) makes a very nice dessert.

          1. re: IndyGirl

            Here is a very easy technique for baklawa and it works very well. Forget about buttering all those layers of phyllo. PIck up a package of phyllo from the frozen section of your grocer. It usually comes in two rolls per box. Follow the basic recipe for the amount of clarified butter and filling but here is the easy part. Pour some butter into the baking dish. Unroll one whole roll of phyllo dough into the baking dish. Add the filling and place the second roll of dough on top. Cut into diamonds and pour the remaining butter all over the top and bake. The butter will seep into all those layers with out you having to butter individual layers and lay one layer on at a time. A real time saver for sure and the results are excellent. Just don't tell my Grandmother.

            1. re: scubadoo97

              What a great idea! I can see myself doing this for spinach pie too. You say it really works?

              1. re: Rasam

                I've not done spinich pie with this technique but baklawa I've made a few times using this simplified technique and it works.

        2. How about a vermicelli pudding with rosewater and pistachio? I guess it's more Indian but could definitely pass for Middle Eastern. I love this dessert - it's very similar to a rice pudding only it's made with noodles and you eat it cold...

          1. Claudia Roden's Orange-Almond cake is delicious, and very easy if you can purchase almond meal.

            Orange and Almond Cake

            2 large oranges
            6 eggs
            250 g (8 oz) ground almonds
            250 g (8 oz) sugar
            1 teaspoon baking powder
            Butter and flour, for cake tin

            Wash and boil the oranges (unpeeled) in a little water for nearly 2 hours (or 1⁄2 hour in a pressure cooker). Let them cool, then cut them open and remove the pips. Turn the oranges into a pulp by rubbing them through a sieve or by putting them in an electric blender.

            Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add all the other ingredients, mix thoroughly and pour into a buttered and floured cake tin with a removable base if possible. Bake in a preheated moderately hot oven (190C/375F) for about 1 hour. If it is still very wet, leave it in the oven for a little longer. Cool in the tin before turning out. This is a very moist cake that may serve as a dessert.

            2 Replies
            1. re: visciole

              "...purchase almond meal."?? Fuggedaboudit! Whole almonds (not even blanched) ground in a processor works fine in this recipe.

              1. re: Joebob

                True, but some of us don't own food processors! I usually like to do my own, but without a food processor grinding enough almonds for this recipe is a real chore. I know -- I did it once. But the bags of almond meal you can buy work fine, although they do not taste as good. Still, I'm not going to buy a food processor to make this recipe 3x a year!

            2. Kourambiedes are easy and would work with your menu.


              They can be made in different shapes, often crescent shaped, but round is easiest.

              1. wow, thanks to all for the extensive and quick responses!!
                I think I am going to stick with the stuffed dates (fast and easy) and the qatayef. I've never made either, but the dates sound easy. The qatayef I'm not as confident about, but these are people who will try anything, pretty much.