Halawet el Jibn "semolina and cheese pastries"

I love this middle eastern dessert that originated in Syria in the city of Hama before it became popular all over the Middle East. It is made of semolina and cheese dough, filled with clotted cream “astha” and garnished with pistachios, edible rose petals and rosewater syrup!


  • 500 gm fresh mozzarella (shredded)

  • 11/2 Cup water

  • 1 Cup sugar

  • 1 Cup very fine semolina powder, if you can’t find a very fine one then use 3/4 Cup of regular semolina.

  • 1/8 Cup orange blossom water (middle eastern stores)

  • 2-3 Cups Ashta “clotted cream’ ( I use fresh ricotta)

  • Garnish: Ater “rose water sugar syrup”, pistachios, edible rose petals.


  1. Bring a medium sized non-stick pot to medium heat, add the water and sugar and stir until

    dissolved completely and starts boiling for about a minute.

  2. Add the cheese and stir with a wooden spoon until all the cheese melts and comes together as one peace. lift up the cheese with the wooden spoon to test if its all melted and gooey.

  3. Add the semolina gradually a 1/4 cup at a time while stirring the cheese on medium low heat, keep stirring after each addition continuously, add the rose water.

  4. Once the dough comes together and all the water is absorbed, continue stirring the dough on medium low heat back and forth and folding it on itself for another 3 minutes. This step is very important to ensure that you have a homogeneous dough.

  5. On a flat surface like a marble counter or granite or on a cutting board, place 1/8 cup of Ater “the sugar syrup” and spread it with your hands ( make sure you are wearing disposable gloves) all over with a surface area of 12x24.

  6. Place the hot dough directly on the flat surface and with your hands flatten it a little then with a rolling pin spree art all over the syrup covered area.

  7. Place some clotted cream “ashta” all over the longer end that is closest to you leaving 11/2 inch margin.

  8. Bring the edge of the dough over the filling and roll it just t the point where the two seams meet.

  9. Cut with a sharp knife along the line so that you can release the first stuffed roll from the rest of the dough. cut 21/2 inch rectangles

  10. Repeat step 7, 8 and 9.

  11. You should have about 3 stuffed rolls.

  12. garnish with pistachios and rose petals and you can add more syrup if you choose to.

  13. Bonappetite!

Rola Jordan