While Knafeh is the true king of Middle Eastern desserts, I would like to consider Warbat to be its Queen. It’s quite an impressive dessert: creamy filling, flakey crust drenched in orange blossom-y simply syrup, and the crunch of pistachios. Warbat will absolutely be a huge hit wherever you serve a tray of it.
1 Box Fillo Dough
2 sticks unsalted butter
Cream Filling (Ishta):
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 ½ cups milk (or 2 mugs)
5 heaping tablespoons of corn starch
2-3 pinches of crushed mastic (miskah)
Simple Syrup (Qatir):
3 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1+ teaspoon Orange Blossom Water (to taste
Crushed Pistachios (for Garnish)
Step 1: Thaw fillo dough
Step 2: In a medium-sized saucepan, whisk together heavy whipping cream, milk, and corn starch. Next, turn on stove to low-medium heat and continue to whisk. After about a minute, add 2-3 pinches of crushed mastic and continue to whisk. (Leaving the stove or not whisking risks burning the filling.) Once the filling has come to the consistency of a slightly thinner pudding, turn off heat and transfer to a glass tray or container and allow to cool. The filling will continue to thicken as it cools completely.
Step 3: While the filling is cooling, prepare the syrup. In a medium-sized saucepan, combine sugar and water over medium-high heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and continue to boil until it has thickened slightly. It should be thinner than pancake syrup. Remove from heat and once it has completely cooled, add orange blossom water to taste.
Step 4: Melt butter. Lightly coat the baking tray with butter. Set the rest of the butter aside as you will be using it later.
Step 5: Remove the fillo dough from packaging, carefully separate into stacks of 10 sheets. Divide up into equal sized 11-12 cm squares. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into each square, carefully fold over and transfer to butter lined baking tray. Once all of the warbat have been placed into the tray, generously brush them with the rest of the melted butter.
Step 6: Preheat oven to 375°F and bake until golden brown. Pour syrup over warbat, sprinkle with pistachios and serve hot.