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Warbat bil Ashta / Shaabiyat (Middle Eastern Cream Stuffed Pastries)

Course Dessert
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Keyword Dessert, Eid, Middle Eastern, Phyllo, Ramadan
Servings 36 Pieces

Ingredients

  • 10 phyllo sheets, thawed and kept covered
  • cups clarified butter, melted
  • Ground pistachios, for garnish

Ashta/ Cream Filling

  • 3 cups whole milk
  • cups heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
  • 1 tablespoon rose water

Sugar Syrup

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons rose or orange blossom water, optional

Instructions

Prepare Ashta/ Cream FIlling

  1. In a large cooking vessel, whisk together all of the ingredients.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium heat, while stirring constantly, until thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and transfer to a heat-proof dish and cover with plastic wrap (this will prevent a skin from forming). Cool completely.

Prepare Sugar Syrup

  1. In a cooking vessel, combine sugar, water, and lemon juice. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer (medium-low) and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the rose or orange blossom water (if desired). Set aside.

Assemble

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and set aside a greased baking sheet.
  2. On a clean surface, gently lay flat one sheet of phyllo. Brush with melted clarified butter, and place another sheet directly on top. Continue this process until all of the phyllo sheets are used, ending with the final sheet brushed with butter.
  3. Gently cut the stack of phyllo dough into squares, about 3 to 4-inches.
  4. Place a heaped tablespoon of the cooled ashta/cream filling at the center of each square. Gently fold the corners over to form a triangle.
  5. Transfer each triangle pastry to the prepared baking sheet. Traditionally the pastries are placed in blocks of 4 so that the folded parts of the pastry form the outsides of a square, and the open corners of the triangles meet in the center. However, you can place them on the pan as you please. Brush the tops with clarified butter.
  6. Bake until golden brown and crisp, about 30 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow them to sit for 5 minutes. Gently pour 1-cup of the prepared sugar syrup over the baked pastries (more syrup can be added to later if desired) and allow the pastries to cool completely and soak up the syrup. Garnish with ground pistachios.

Recipe Notes

Avoid over stuffing the pastries with ashta/cream filling.
Typically 1 – 1¼ cups sugar syrup provides the ideal amount of sweetness.
Warbat bil Ashta can be kept at room temperature in a covered container.