Mhalabiyeh (Fragrant Milk Pudding with Cranberries)

Active Time: 20 MINTotal Time2 HR 40 MIN
Yield: Serves : 12

Mhalabiyeh—the Palestinian version of panna cotta—is commonly flavored with mastic, which has a pleasant flavor reminiscent of licorice or pine. Purchase mastic at Alternatively, Reem Kassis suggests substituting 1 teaspoon of rose water or orange blossom water.


  • 4 mastic gum pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 1 pinch granulated sugar, divided
  • 4 cups whole milk, divided
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/4 cup water

How to Make It

Step 1    

Grind mastic gum pieces and a pinch of sugar in a mortar and pestle until finely ground. Whisk together ground mastic gum mixture, 1 cup milk, and cornstarch in a small bowl until dissolved.

Step 2    

Whisk together cream, 3/4 cup sugar, and remaining 3 cups milk in a large, heavy saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium. When milk mixture is about to boil, add mastic mixture, and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Step 3    

Carefully ladle hot pudding into 12 (6- to 8-ounce) heatproof dessert bowls or glasses. Press plastic wrap or wax paper directly onto surface of each pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool slightly, about 20 minutes; refrigerate until set and chilled, at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.

Step 4    

Meanwhile, combine cranberries, 1/4 cup water, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over low, stirring occasionally, until cranberries burst and release their juices, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Step 5    

Serve puddings cold, topped with cranberry sauce.

Make Ahead

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