Warbat is probably one of the most underrated arabic desserts. I feel like Kunafa gets the most attention, and then probably Atayef because of Ramadan. Warbat definitely doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
What is Warbat?
Warbat is a perfectly crispy filo dough that’s soaked in simple syrup and stuffed to the rim with the most amazing homemade ishta. If you don’t know what ishta is, it’s basically a rich clotted cream with a texture similar to custard. It’s so rich and delicious and very easy to make at home. I personally like to add a can of the ready ishta. Why, you might ask? I don’t like to use the ready one because its too thin and very rich. I love the flavor of the one made at home, but to add a little more richness and flavor to it I add a can of the ready stuff. Plus it thins it just enough. It’s just the perfect balance. If you want to leave it out, you can, just read the notes on the recipe to ensure you get the best results.
How to Make Warbat: Tips and Tricks
A few tips for making warbat and succeeding. First off, you can do this! Just be patient and read through all the notes so you’re prepared. This is honestly pretty straightforward to make, you just want to know the process first.
I like to buy Athens Fillo Dough because its always perfect. The sheets are never ripped and the size is great. I split each roll into two so I end up with 4 stacks of 8 sheets. I cute each stack in half the long way and then into 4 the wide way using a ruler. This leaves a little edge and the squares end up being 4.25 inches. Afterwards you just fold each square diagonally in half and arrange on a bare sheet pan. Make sure to cover any fillo dough you aren’t working with or it will dry and become like paper.
As for the butter, it will seem like a lot, but it’s not. Just make sure to evenly drench the folded triangles. They will absorb all the butter and crisp up perfectly.
Now let’s talk about the syrup. You NEED to make the syrup ahead of time. It has to cool down to room temperature because you need to pour it onto the triangles as soon as they come out of the oven and are piping hot. The room temperature syrup against the hot dough will make them crispy. If you pour hot syrup on the dough it will get soggy and the same if you wait until the dough cools. So it’s essential you cool your syrup before starting.
Lastly, be careful as you open up the triangles. Pouring the syrup before filling helps distribute it evenly. It also makes them soft enough to open easily. Just let them cool for a few minutes after soaking them in the syrup. And then pop them open and fill them up. After filling them I dip the raw edges in pistachios.
How to store Warbat:
Now, after you take all the time to make these absolutely perfect Warbat bil Ashta, you need to be able to store them. I highly recommend making these the day of or the night before and then storing uncovered in the refrigerator. The longer they sit the soggier they get. I also always recommend taking them out about 30 minutes before serving so the ashta is nice and creamy when you eat them. Overall, storage is so simple and I don’t even think you’ll have leftovers to store!
I know this seems like a lot, but they are honestly so straightforward. I just like to give you ALL the tips to help you make them in the easiest most efficient way possible! I hope you enjoy these as much as we did. Sahtain!
Flaky Crispy Filo Dough soaked in simple syrup and stuffed with a rich creamy ishta custard. Topped with crunchy pistachios. Warbat is one of the tastiest arabic desserts you’ll have!
- Prep Time: 2 hours
- Cook Time: 30 Minutes
- Total Time: 2 Hours 30 Minutes
- Yield: 24 1x
- Category: Desserts
1 16 oz package Filo Dough
1 Cup Butter, melted
4 Cups Heavy Cream
2 Cup Half and Half
1/2 Cup Cornstarch (SEE NOTES)
1/4 Cup Flour
1 6 oz can Ishta Cream (optional)
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 or you will get soggy warbat. 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.
Thaw out your filo dough according to the directions. Start by unrolling one roll and splitting the number of sheets in half. You need about 8 sheets to work with at a time.
Leave the 8 sheets stacked onto each other and cover the other half with a towel so it doesn’t dry. Using a ruler cut squares. The dough I get is 8.5 x 18 inches. I cut 4.25 inch squares so I can make the most of it. It will vary with the brand that you’re using.
Now you will be left with squares of 8 sheets stacked on each other. Take each square and fold it diagonally on itself so you have a triangle. Place it on a bare sheet pan. Continue with the rest of the dough.
I like to arrange mine like the photo above. Each pack of filo dough makes 24 pieces. After you finish arranging the triangles, melt 1 Cup of butter and pour it onto them evenly. This will seem like a lot but I promise it isn’t!
Bake at 375 F (or according to package directions of the brand you bought) for 15-20 minutes. This will vary with each oven so keep an eye on them. You want them evenly golden on the top and bottom. They will also absorb all the butter.
Once they are baked remove them from the oven and pour the COOLED syrup on them immediately. It’s essential that the pastry is hot and the syrup is room temperature. This is what will prevent them from becoming soggy! After pouring the syrup allow them cool for a few minutes before filling them.
While they cool, put your prepared and cooled ishta in a bowl or stand mixer. Add a can of ready ishta. This helps keep it creamy and gives it the rich flavor. You can leave it out if you want. Whish the ishta until it’s nice and fluffy and then place it in a piping bag or ziploc bag. This will make it much easier to fill.
You want to work with the filo while its warm so it doesn’t break, but not too hot or the cream will melt. Gently open the fold of the triangle and fill with the ishta. I like to rough chop pistachios and dip the raw ishta edges into them. Repeat until you finish all the warbat.
Store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Loosely wrap if needed. They’re best enjoyed the day of!
It is absolutely essential you make the simple syrup ahead of time. It needs to cool completely otherwise you will get soggy warbat. The filo dough needs to be hot out of the oven and the syrup cool in order for it to stay crispy! Make it ahead of time and set it aside!
I like to add a can of ishta because of the flavor it adds. It adds a different richness to it. Feel free to leave it out and just decrease the cornstarch by 1 tbsp to help thin it out a little. You will still get amazing ishta.
I use Athens Filo Dough. It is my favorite and the sheets are never torn up which is really important. Make sure you store and thaw it correctly so the sheets can be easy to work with. Be sure to cover the ones you aren’t working with because it will dry quickly.
Keywords: filo dough, filo, dessert, ramadan, warbat, simple syrup, pistachios, kolaj, ishta, butter