Hataleya, Aleppo Icy Pudding, Sweet and Unique!

Published July 4, 2018

My favorite ice cold dessert has to be Hataleya, an Aleppo Icy Pudding, sweet and so unique! My mother-in-law, Mary, first served this to me years ago. I was unfamiliar with this cornstarch and milk pudding served this way. I’d had it as a simple and traditional pudding, called M’Hallabiya, enjoyed for many years in the Middle East and topped with chopped nuts. But, this incredible textural delight was a real awakening to me in the drama that could be achieved, just in how you serve something!

This humble milk pudding is chilled and then cut into cubes. It’s layered in a glass serving bowl along with crushed ice and then it’s drizzled with the traditional Shirreh, that simple Sugar Syrup infused with Orange Blossom or Rose Water. The result is both a delight to the eyes and the taste buds! In fact, I have to smile every time I serve this to someone who’s never tried it. Just that look of surprise and then their pleasurable smile is such fun to watch!

As I asked about the history of this wonderful Middle Eastern dessert, I realized that it was inventively created just for hot summers! In fact, I would put it into the category of ice cream, in that regard. If you try this simple and homey recipe, you’ll find that, not only is it a do-ahead dessert, but your family and guests will totally enjoy putting it together in their serving bowls for themselves too!

The recipe for Icy Pudding, Hataleya, is on page 146. The basic simple Sugar Syrup, called Shirreh, is on page 6 of Sitto’s Kitchen II Cookbook. Cool off with this dramatic Syrian dessert!