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Halawet el jibn (sweet cheese dessert)

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For the sugar syrup ('atar)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 0.5 cup water
  • squeeze of lemon juice
For the halawet el jibn
  • 0.5 cup coarse semolina
  • 0.5 cup warm water
  • 0.5 cup sugar syrup ('atar)
  • 500g shredded mozzarella
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 750g mascarpone cheese
  • Handful pistachio nuts, ground
  • Serving
    Serves 8
  • Skill Level


Imagine sweet dough made from melted mozzarella and semolina - yet you cannot tell what deliciousness this is - with a creamy mascarpone filling! Aahh! My mums favourite dessert - the yummy halawet el jibn! This recipe was given to me by the amazing Jinan, who was taught this by her mother in law!
  1. Start by making the sugar syrup. In a small pot, add the sugar and water over medium heat. After a few minutes the sugar should have dissolved. Once the mixture boils vigorously, add a squeeze of lemon juice, stir, then leave for 30 seconds to bubble away before turning off the heat
  2. In a larger pot, add the semolina, warm water and the sugar syrup over medium heat. Mix until the mixture thickens up. Once this is done, start to add the mozzarella in batches, a handful at a time. Mix until the mozzarella melts into the mixture before adding more. This is the arm workout of the whole recipe. The more you mix the better. You may wish to bring down the heat to medium/low at this point, but keep constantly mixing until you have used up all the mozzarella
  3. Oil your surface and hands very well, then quickly transfer the dough, whilst still hot, to your oiled surface. Flatten the dough out with your hands or with a rolling pin, until it is evenly flattened with approx 1cm thickness
  4. Add half-one tablespoon of mascarpone cheese in a straight line (see video above) horizontally. Fold the dough over the cheese and trim with a knife. Set the filled dough aside into a tray or dish. Continue this until you have placed all the cheese onto the dough and formed long cylindrical shapes. Cover the tray/dish with clingfilm and leave in the fridge for at least 1 hour (best overnight) to firm up the mascarpone
  5. Cut each cylinder into bitesize pieces, cleaning your knife between each cut to get a clean finish. Place onto your serving dish and top with the remaining sugar syrup. Decorate with ground almonds and serve cold

 If this doesn't get eaten in one go, cover and keep the remaining in the fridge and enjoy it for a few more days. You may not have tasted a dessert quite like this before! I really hope you give this a go and enjoy :)



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