Halawit El Jibn is one of my favorite desserts. These sweet cheese rolls are so delicate, rich, and taste amazing. This dessert is definitely a labor of love, but after making it time and time again, I have truly perfected it.
I believe there are many right ways to make something. I personally have made this dessert so many times that I have a few tricks that I believe make it easier to make and will help give you consistent results each time. That being said, you may also have a different way of making it. And if you do, leave a comment below. I would love to learn from you!
Tips and Tricks for PERFECT Halawit El Jibn
I have a few tricks up my sleeve that help make my Halawit El Jibn perfect every time. I’m gonna share them with you in hopes that it’ll help you perfect it as well. Good luck!
- Use Sweet Cheese. This cheese has the perfect stretch and won’t make your halawit el jibn to stretchy or too soggy. Here is the one I purchase.
- I use the ishta recipe from the warbat, just scaled down.
- Allow your water and sugar to barely come to a boil. You just want the sugar to be dissolved. Once it starts to bubble around the edges, turn off the heat and add your semolina. This will allow you to mix the semolina without it getting clumpy and dry. After your semolina is smooth turn the heat on a medium low and add your cheese.
- I process my cheese on the food processor. This gives me fine crumbs that will melt quickly and evenly. I then scrape the processor clean and put the ishta in it. Less dishes and the same results.
- Once you add your cheese to the semolina mixture you want to continuously spread and fold using a spatula. This will melt the cheese and mix it in without burning or drying you halawit el jibn out. Be prepared for an arm workout.
- Continue to fold and spread until the halawit el jibn pulls away from the pot cleanly. I have been using this pot for years and it has never failed me.
- Once it’s done, pour it onto a non stick mat and allow it to cool until it’s cool to the touch. This nonstick mat makes all the difference in cleanly rolling out your halawit jibn.
- Make sure your hands are clean and DRY. Even slightly damp hands will cause your halawit to stick.
- When you’re rolling out your halawit don’t put much weight onto it. Roll in one direction then lift the rolling pin and roll again. This will prevent it from sticking. I use the bench scraper to encourage it to stay rectangular. It helps me get sharp corners so I never have to trim.
- Put your istha into a piping bag. It makes it so much easier to get it even and keep your halawit jibn nice and round.
- Once you roll it up, wrap it in plastic wrap. This is when you can press the seam and then roll it around to make it nice and round. Place it in the fridge seam side down. It’ll sturdy up and be easy to cut and will hold its shape beautifully. You can also store like this for up to two days and then slice when needed.
- Once you slice it, I brush it with a little simple syrup then sprinkle the pistachios. This ensures they’ll stick. Drizzle with more syrup if needed.
Halawit El Jibn
Halawit El Jibn is an arabic dessert made with a semolina and cheese roll wrapped around a rich ishta cream. These rich and delicate sweet cheese rolls are literally to die for. The perfect dessert.
1 1/2 cups Water
1 cup Sugar
1 tsp Orange Blossom Water
1 cup Fine Semolina
1 lb Sweet Cheese
2 Cups Heavy Cream
1 Cup Half and Half
5 tbsp Cornstarch
2.5 tbsp Flour
1 6 oz can Ishta Cream
Simple Syrup (SEE NOTES)
3 Cups Sugar
2 Cups Water
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
Pistachios for Garnish
Make your simple syrup a few hours ahead of time. It needs to be completely room temperature. Pour the water into the pot first then the sugar. This will keep the sugar from getting on the sides of the pan and causing it to crystalize later. Bring it to a gentle boil and then you can stir if needed. Add the lemon juice and simmer for ten minutes. Set aside to cool completely.
Prepare the Ishta. In a saucepan, combine the cream, half and half, flour, and cornstarch. Whisk until smooth. You can even use a blender. You don’t want any clumps. Heat the mixture on medium heat while whisking continuously. It will thicken and bubble. Pour into a dish and cover with the saran wrap touching it. Cool in the fridge completely.
Using a food processor, finely chop the cheese. Set aside.
Pour your sugar, water, and orange blossom water into a nonstick anodized deep skillet. Once it starts to bubble around the edges and the sugar is dissolved, turn off the heat and add the semolina. Mix it very well so it’s nice and smooth. Once it’s smooth, turn the heat onto medium low and add the cheese. Using a rubber spatula spread and fold the mixture until all the cheese is melted and there are no more specks of white. The halawit Jibn will come together and pull away from the pan cleanly. It’ll resemble a very smooth soft dough.
Pour your dough onto a silicone mat and allow to cool slightly, otherwise it’ll be sticky to work with.
Prepare your ishta. In the same food processor you did the cheese, add the cooled ishta you made earlier. Add a can of ready ishta and process on high for about two minutes. It’ll give you a beautiful smooth cream. Place your piping bag into a cup and fill it with the cream. Set aside.
Evenly divide your dough into three sections. I shape each one with my hands into a rectangle and then roll with a rolling pin until its 8 inches by 12 inches. Use the bench scraper to keep the sides and edges sharp so you don’t have to trim anything.
Once its the desired size, Pipe your ishta 1/2 inch from the side. You want to pipe the ishta onto the longer side. Gently roll it and then repeat on the other side. Repeat for all three pieces. You should get six rolls in total. If you roll them correctly you should only have to slice down the middle of each piece and shouldn’t have to trim any edges.
Once you roll them all, wrap each roll in plastic wrap. Press the seams to seal and roll the log so it’s nice and round. This will let you seal the seams and keep them nice until you want to slice.
Refrigerate all the rolls for at least 2 hours. This will allow them to firm up so they slice cleanly.
Slice each roll into 10 pieces. Brush the tops with a little syrup and garnish with ground pistachio. This will allow it to stick. Serve with more syrup. Enjoy!
Keywords: halawit smeed, halawit el jibn, halawit jibn, sweet cheese, sushi, sweet cheese roll, istha, ishta cream, dessert, arabic