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Halawet el Jiben - "Sweet Cheese Rolls"

Halawet el Jibn is a delicate Middle Eastern dessert. It consists of a soft, sweet dough filled with delicious ashta, topped with crushed pistachios and drizzled with simple syrup. The texture and flavours are a celebration in your mouth! Once you start you can never stop until the entire plate has been devoured! This delicious & certainly addictive dessert is also very popular during the Holy month of Ramadan but can be enjoyed all year round!

The dough is made of fine semolina & cheese. Sweetened with some sugar and flavoured with rose water & orange blossom. The dough is rolled out into a thin sheet and a line of creamy, delicious ashta is added to the dough and rolled to form a log then cut into bite-sized pieces. Each piece is then topped crushed pistachios. The rolls are then drizzled with simple syrup and served. If you have some rose jam available as well you can also top each piece with a very small amount of rose jam along with the pistachio.

Halawet el Jibn - Sweet Cheese Rolls


For the dough:

1 3/4 cups water

3/4 cups sugar

1 tbsp rose water

1 tbsp orange blossom water

1 cup fine semolina

2 cups mozzarella* cheese, shredded

For the filling:

2 cups Ashta

crushed pistachios for garnish

simply syrup to sweeten

* traditionally, this recipe calls for akawi cheese. I find mozzarella to be more accessible and doesn't require soaking to remove the salt.


  • In a saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil over medium-high heat. Let the mix boil while mixing constantly for about five minutes to reduce slightly.

  • Add the rose water and orange blossom

  • Gradually add the semolina and stir constantly until well combined

  • Reduce the heat to medium and gradually add the mozzarella. Keep stirring until the mix forms a soft dough. This will feel like an arm workout but will justify eating the entire batch!

  • Turn off heat and set aside.

  • Place some plastic wrap on your counter top and brush it some simply syrup. This will help prevent the dough from sticking and make it easy to work with when rolling. It will also make clean up a breeze!

  • Place the dough onto the plastic wrap and let it cool for about 10 mins.

  • Brush your rolling pin with some simple syrup and roll the dough into a thin rectangle. If you find the dough to be a little sticky you can also place some plastic wrap on top of the dough and roll to avoid sticking to your rolling pin.

  • Using a pizza cutter or knife, trim the edges off the irregular sides of the dough to form a clean-cut rectangle.

  • Fill a piping bag with the ashta and cut off about an inch of the tip. Pipe the ashta on the side closest to you. Alternatively, you can also just spoon the ashta on the dough.

  • Using the plastic wrap under the dough, lift the dough and roll it over the ashta filling until the ashta is completely covered forming a log.

  • Using a pizza cutter or knife, make a cut along side the log to slice it off from the rest of the dough. Repeat this process with the remainder of the dough

  • Using a sharp knife, divide the logs into bite size pieces (about 1 3/4 inch each)

  • Arrange the rolls on a serving platter, sprinkle each with crushed pistachios on top.

  • Drizzle with simple syrup when you're ready to serve. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.


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